A Spiritual Buffet Table
By Scott Lisea, Campus Pastor
I’ve been thinking about growth and buffet tables. Maybe the end of the holiday season makes this metaphor seem like a good fit, but that kind of buffet table usually leads to another sort of growth.
I’ve been considering about how our students grow spiritually during their time at Westmont. Reflecting on the various opportunities and options available to them brings to mind a large buffet table filled with delicious dishes and choices, all meant to nourish and bless them: bacon-wrapped dates, meatballs, rich cheeses and fresh fruits.
What do we serve our students? When they arrive in this community, they can choose to engage in chapel (we can require them to attend but they decide whether or not to engage), where they’ll hear diverse voices of saints from our community and around the world. They can dive into different worship styles, traditions, practices and languages. Students can join a Capax Dei group or a myriad of other small Bible studies where they can grow in their relationship with God and a handful of friends. They can add service to their plate, in the Westmont community, greater Santa Barbara, or through short-term mission opportunities on a weekend, for spring break, or during the summer on an international Emmaus Road trip. They can join a church community in town and participate in a multi-generation faith community. They can develop significant relationships with faculty and staff mentors at Westmont. I could go on and on.
But nobody makes them eat. They have the freedom and will to choose whether or not they try new things, pick up opportunities and take advantage of the feast. While these activities lack the urgency of taking an exam or writing a paper, those who grow in wisdom know they need to eat and that what they consume makes a significant impact on their health.
While I spend some of my time wondering about what to place on the table in front of students, what to preach, who to invite in, what to add to the options, I also help them to choose to learn to feed themselves. Someday, they will leave our table behind and launch into life. Will they know how to feed themselves and be shaped by the love of God and love for their neighbor? Will they know how to lead hungry people to the table? Do they know how to honor the teachings of Jesus? Do they know how to listen for and obey the Holy Spirit? These questions occupy my time as I contemplate, strategize, and pray.
Jesus said that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness would be satisfied in the kingdom of God. Join me in praying that our students, your sons and daughters, would experience the satisfaction of being filled by Christ.