What is the importance of saying grace before we eat?
The meaning and purpose of "saying grace" before a meal is to acknowledge our dependence on God and to give thanks to Him for meeting our need for food and drink.
It is humbling to ponder just how dependent we are on God for everything. He is the creator and sustainer of all living things, and from Him comes every good and perfect gift (Genesis 1:1; Colossians 1:16–17; James 1:17). In Him, we live and breathe and have our being (Acts 17:28). Our bodies are "jars of clay," fragile and dependent (2 Corinthians 4:7). In some of the world's more materially blessed societies, it is easy to forget this fact. Oftentimes, we do not fully acknowledge our dependence on God and therefore we fail to give Him the thanks He deserves. Saying grace before eating a meal is an example of stopping to acknowledge God's providential grace and thank Him for His many blessings.
The word "grace" means undeserved merit or favor. By using the word grace in reference to giving thanks before meals, we are acknowledging that because of our sin we are undeserving of God's blessings (Romans 3:23), but because God is gracious and loving, He provides for us anyway (1 John 4:8; Romans 5:8; Mathew 5:45). As Christians, we are commanded not to be anxious about such things as food and drink, but to pray and give thanks to God instead (Matthew 6:25–33).
By giving thanks before a meal, we are imitating Christ Himself. We have biblical evidence that Jesus often gave thanks before breaking bread, including before His miracles of feeding the multitudes and while testifying about Himself to the two men traveling the road to Emmaus (Matthew 14:19; 15:36; Luke 24:30). The most memorable time was at the Last Supper, before He was to be crucified (Matthew 26:26–28). He took the bread, gave thanks, and broke it. Not long afterwards, He gave His very own body to be broken and His blood to be poured out on Calvary's cross for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2; Colossians 1:20). As resurrected Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who is the Bread of Life, offers eternal life to all who would believe in His name (John 3:35–36; 6:57–58).
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