Restaurants (Eating Out)



(Eating Out)

The term eating out refers to dining outside the home in a public eating place, particularly for reasons other than sheer necessity. While it is legitimate and practical at times to eat at a restaurant while traveling, the principles for which we avoid eating out should guide us then as well.

Public eating places of long ago were primarily places of lodging for the weary and hungry wayfarer. This is no longer the case. As Western society pads itself with the comforts of affluence, it simultaneously bows down to the god of gluttony. Entrepreneurs have capitalized on the eating-out craze with the result being a plethora of public eating places competing to feed local citizens.

Eating out as a lifestyle is a product of a society that has become infatuated with food. To be sure, eating is necessary for physical health. It is honorable when done in thanksgiving to God. “For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving” (1 Timothy 4:4). However, when focus on God is replaced by a focus on food, idolatry ensures. Those “whose God is their belly” sin through the indulgence of the flesh. They are enemies of Christ (Philippians 3:18-19).

Eating out militates against contentment in the home. The simple, delicious, and balanced dishes of a home-cooked meal are prepared in love. God is acknowledged as the good Giver. The atmosphere of family love and unity is palpable as the family shares the happenings of the day and together learns the lessons of life. Consequently, the spiritual values fostered at the family table outlast the taste of the food.


By contrast, the craving for smorgasbord dishes and exotic foods in strange places sidesteps those values. The food, prepared by strangers’ hands, is more easily attributed to a restaurant brand than coming from the hand of God. The taste of the food and the quality of service becomes the basis of judgment of the time and money spent. The stomach is filled; contentment is starved.

Furthermore, eating out exposes one to unhealthy social influences. For millennia, those with dull spiritual senses feasted amid idol worship, music, and dancing (Exodus 32 and Daniel 5). While this pattern is not exclusive to eating-out places, many restaurants include these same three influences: inordinate affection for food, worldly music, and visual entertainment via television. God’s people are not at home in this environment.

For many, eating out is a pastime—a diversion from daily routine and a time of indulging the appetite with the fries and frappes. For others, eating out resembles an addiction, a way of life that has become a habit. In either case, their appetites control their lives. But “they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:24).

–Mark Baltozer

The Eastern Mennonite Testimony

February 2018, p. 16.



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