John 21 might be one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. It’s filled with the drama of Peter’s restoration, where Jesus brings about a heartwarming redemption story.
And it started with Jesus at a grill.
After fishing all night, Jesus knew that a hot meal grilled over open coals was just what the disciples needed and I couldn’t agree more. Last night (a Sunday), I spent hours slow roasting beef ribs and chicken for some friends coming over later. Watching my buddies dig into the fruits of my labor was extremely satisfying. Like many men (and women too), the lure of the flames and the smoke calls to me all the time. I’m often scouring grocery stores for bargains on brisket. I’ll grab an extra rack of ribs even though I’m stocked at home. I’m in a grilling/bbq Facebook group sporting 20,000+ members. Interestingly enough, mostly men.
The question is “why?” — why do so many men love to overfill their grill? Is it about the challenge of perfecting a recipe? Maybe. Is it because we never got over our middle school pyromania? Probably. Last night, it occurred to me that it really isn’t about the food, but the gift. For me grilling is really about the opportunity to demonstrate loving service to others. Grilling/smoking takes my time and attention. I marinate meat for hours or days before the fire is even started. I get up early and stay by my firepit to make sure the temps are just right. I will gladly spend the time it takes to cook a steal to perfection.
I do all this is so that I can watch people I care about enjoy something I created and know they are worth my time and care.
It’s interesting that on Mother’s Day, we often take moms out to give her a well-deserved rest from taking care of others, but on Father’s Day, many dads take their post by the grill. My speculative guess is that many men express their emotion through tangible acts, and feeding others from the fire speaks words they may not be able to express to the ones they love.
Like your grandmother’s desserts and family dinners, many men find the grill a tangible way to say “You’re worth it, because I love you.” It’s what Jesus was doing by His fire … serving His disciples. It’s the same for me. My love affair with the smoke and coals is really an act of service for people who matter to me. So, the next time you take a bite of smoky goodness from a family grill, I hope you hear the heart of the cook saying, “You’re worth it.”
CCBC 5th-8th Grade Pastor