Being thankful for our food, contrasting food eaten in Bible times with our modern day diets, remembering those who are hungry.
The pictures should be shown in PowerPoint as the story is told. The ( ) shows when the slide should be changed. To attract pupils’ attention, we recommend the first slide is already on display as they enter.
Thank you Lord (Come and Praise no.32)
… I am putting you in charge of the fish, the birds, and all the wild animals. I have provided all kinds of grain and all kinds of fruit for you to eat; but for all the wild animals and all the birds I have provided grass and leafy plants for food. (Genesis 1: 28-30)
The Main Text
What is your favourite food? Do you think it would have been available in Bible times?
Nowadays we have a huge choice of food. We can buy food from all over the world in our local supermarket. We can eat what we like, when we like, at any time of year. We can enjoy:
- bananas from the Caribbean
- rice from India
- strawberries from Spain
- lamb from New Zealand
- salmon from Scotland
- mushrooms from Ireland
- as well as meat and vegetables grown on farms in our own Welsh countryside.
But it has not always been as easy as this. For 99% of human history people took their food from the environment around them. They ate all that they could find in one area, and then moved on to somewhere else. Then about 10,000 years ago, people learned to farm the land and produce their own food.
When some parts of the Bible were written, nearly four thousand years ago, people ate a healthier diet than we do today.
We know that it’s not good to eat too much fast food, or ready made meals that are full of preservatives, or sweets that are full of fats and sugars. But these kinds of foods didn't exist in those days and people did not have so much choice.
What type of foods do you think people ate? What type of foods do you think they didn’t have? (Take responses)
The most important difference between what we eat today and what people ate in Bible times is that people would normally eat only what was grown in their area. There was no importing or exporting of goods.
There were no planes flying from the other side of the world with exotic fruits. There were no huge lorries bringing food from farms and factories in different parts of Britain.
Grains were a very important part of the diet during this time. People used barley and wheat to make bread. To make things sweet they used honey gathered from local bees.
Animals that were killed for food were always free range, which means that they had had a natural life in the outdoors. But most people didn't eat meat at every meal because it wasn't available. If you lived near the sea you would have eaten a lot of fish.
People also ate a lot of nuts, vegetables and fruits. Where Jesus lived, these included figs, pomegranates, olives and apricots.
To drink, there was milk from cows or goats. Cheese was made from the milk. We know that yoghurt was also eaten, although it is not the same kind of yoghurt that comes in the neat little pots that we eat today. It wasn’t flavoured and it contained no preservatives and no sugar.
Today many people like to eat ‘organic’ food that has been grown without using any chemical pesticides to kill insects. All the food was organic in those days. There was nothing else available.
Compared to Bible times, today we have a much bigger choice of foods. But we must remember that while we have so much variety, many people in the world do not have enough to eat. In some countries hot, dry weather or floods destroy the crops. Sometimes wars mean that food can’t be transported safely to hungry people. In some places poor farmers are forced to grow ‘cash crops’, which are crops grown only to sell and not to eat themselves.
So, the next time you complain about your food, or leave some of it on your plate, remember how fortunate we are in Wales. We have so much more choice of delicious foods than people had long ago. We live in a country where most people have enough to eat.
In fact, there’s enough food in the world for everyone, but it’s not shared out fairly.
We can help by giving to charities that provide food for famine areas, and we can buy Fairtrade foods where farmers are paid a fair price for the food they grow.
Thank you for providing our food every day. Help us to remember that not everyone in the world has so much to eat. Make us more thoughtful about what we eat and how our choice of food can affect the people who work hard to produce it.