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The Dinner Table Approach

Food. What a wonderful thing, right? Korean food. Even better! One of the wonderful things about eating Korean food is that there’s such a variety in one meal. Think about it. When you go to a Korean restaurant, what do you get? Some of you might get bulgogi (Grilled marinated beef) or others might just get some denjangjjigae (Soybean paste soup). While you get this main course, you usually get a bowl of rice with it. Then you get the banchans (side dishes). Korean food is food fit for a king. (Amen?)

But the most important part of the meal is rice. No questions about it. That’s the key to a great meal! You can eat rice with pretty much anything. When you’re a poor college student (like me), you eat rice and dry seaweed. If you still live with your parents, you eat rice and all the healthy banchans your mother or grandmother prepares for you. When you’re at church, you eat rice with all the Adventist inspired (sometimes weird) take on banchan. Rice is the main course. Rice is the staple. Rice is life.

With the rice comes the banchan, and the banchan gives flavor to the rice.

My favorite banchan is mulchi (you know, the tiny little anchovies marinated in some soy sauce or whatever that stuff is…). I could eat that for days. It was fun as a kid to eat and make friends squirm because it’s kind of creepy that I’m eating whole little fishies. But if I were to eat that for a few days straight with nothing else…honestly, I don’t think I could do it. That would be so unsatisfying and eventually, just gross.

Now imagine going to the dinner table and they don’t serve you rice. Instead, you only get a bowl of your favorite banchan. Delicious right? At first you might enjoy it. You might be excited that you don’t have to eat that brown rice you dread all the time. But what happens after you keep eating that favorite banchan of yours? It can get too salty or sweet (is there is a sweet banchan?). It’s difficult to just eat the banchan by itself. Making the banchan the main course might be satisfying at first, but after a while… it’s not as great as you thought it was going to be.

The rice is so important because we need it to balance out all the banchans that we have on the dinner table. Without the rice, the meal is kind of… empty, not satisfying. It just isn’t the same. 

This may be a silly illustration but it’s something that we can apply to our lives! In our lives, we have so many different things going on. Things like school, work, hanging out with friends, girlfriends, boyfriends and hobbies. These are the “banchans” of life.  Sometimes we get so obsessed about these “banchans” that it might seem wonderful at first, but it starts to be bland, boring and unsatisfying. Don’t get me wrong; these aren’t bad things, some of these are important too! However, when the rice is the main course and not the banchan, everything tastes better right?
This is the illustration. God is the “rice” in our life. He needs to be the “staple,” that “main course” of our lives.  All the other “banchans” of life should simply add more “flavor” to the relationship we have with God. You see, when God becomes the “rice” in our lives, it makes life a lot more delicious and satisfying. So I encourage you to think about the “dinner table” in your life. Look and see if your main course is a “banchan” or if’ it’s “rice.” Is that next episode of your favorite K-drama your main course? Or is daily devotion with God your main course? Is that video game coming out in a few days your main course? Or is starting your day praying to God your main course? Are the distractions of life, your main course? Or is God your main course?

Next time you look at your dinner table, I pray that it’ll be a good reminder to always make God the main course of your life.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

Timothy Yun is currently a 3rd year student at La Sierra University studying Religious Students. After exploring many different options, he has felt the strong calling of God to enter ministry.

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