3 Ways to Party Well

At many parties in southeastern Pennsylvania, you might find a unique item on the buffet line. It will be housed in a box with the name Corropolese on it and you’ll be tempted to call it pizza. But, tomato pie is not cold pizza. It does have sauce, bread, and a little bit of sprinkled cheese, which is why it can be confused with its culinary cousin. Most people either love it or hate it, but I’ve never heard of anyone eating it at home when there wasn’t a party or event. It’s an unwritten rule that tomato pie is strictly a party food.

Since it is only eaten at parties, I usually have more than one piece (not slice) and eat more than I should of other food as well. I used to feel a little guilty about overindulging at a party until one of my Bible college professors taught me a key theological truth. He said, when you’re at a party and overeating, it’s not called gluttony, it’s called feasting, which is biblical. Some of you just felt a great weight lift off your shoulders!

Feasting is a spiritual discipline that has been around since the beginning of the Jewish law. God prescribed 7 festivals for the Jewish people and in at least 4 of them, they were supposed to party and eat well. These celebrations were meant to break the rhythm of everyday life and help people reflect on God’s goodness, provision, and faithfulness. As followers of Christ, we find all of what they were celebrating about God fully realized in Jesus. There were times when the Hebrew people threw a festival and at the same time God accused them of a party foul.

The prophet Zechariah talks to the people of Israel about feasting and fasting. In v.5-6 he asks, “When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted? And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves?” He accused them of disgracing the feast by making it about themselves. Feasting stops being a spiritual discipline when it stops being about God.

How do we party well as followers of Jesus?

  1. Prepare yourself leading up to the celebration.

We often eat rich foods and large quantities of food on a regular basis, so sometimes eating during a celebration feels like your everyday life. I am not writing to judge your nutritional choices but gluttony is often overlooked and at times, an accepted sin. If we intentionally ate less leading up to the celebration, then it can make the feast more special. This is often practiced in more liturgical churches with the observation of lent before the celebration of Easter.

  1. Plan to celebrate with God at the center.

Ask yourself how you will bring God glory through the party or while you are there. It might be praying with others before the food arrives and making the point that all of this is a gift from God. If you are in charge of the party, you could pick a scripture to read either celebrating Jesus directly or his work in the person you are celebrating. I have friends from eastern cultures who use their weddings and significant birthdays as a time to gather all of their friends to eat, drink (but not to excess), celebrate, and hear a gospel message from a pastor or another spiritual leader.

Our family birthday tradition is to sing 5 different versions of a birthday song with one of them being titled, “We’re so glad God made you.”

  1. Anticipate your future with Jesus.

Every great celebration should remind you about your future hope with Jesus. The prophet Isaiah paints a picture of the great feast all Christians will participate in when Christ’s Kingdom is fully established.

He says, “On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine– the best of meats and the finest of wines, and tomato pies.*” (Isaiah 25:6)

The best party you’ve ever been to or thrown pales in comparison to the feast that awaits us.
Next time you party, make sure you party well.  
*Author’s note: Tomato pie is not mentioned in this verse or any other place in the scriptures but you literally can’t have a party without it so it must be there.
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