What Is The Value Of Saying Grace?


$46 million. That’s what the famous Norman Rockwell painting from 1951 fetched at a Sotheby’s auction earlier this month. I’ve always liked his paintings, perhaps because they were present during some very happy memories growing up. I began most summer days with breakfast at a place called “Rockwell’s” where the walls were lined with his prints.

In “Saying Grace” the old lady and little boy in the picture are obviously being view with mild condescension by the young men who are sharing their table and a smoke. Now remember, this is 1951. It would six years before Leave it to Beaver even came to television. If it was weird to thank God for your food back then, what is it today? Should we maintain or even make the practice of it?

I think we should for three reasons. First, the very strangeness of it distinguishes us from others and reminds us we are not of this thankless world. Since no one else in the restaurant, plane, cafeteria, or staff lunchroom is doing it, you become visibly different. Secondly it maintains what should be the regular practice in our homes. It brings steadiness to our walk with God. Our private and public devotion should be the consistent, especially in the eyes of our kids. Third, it may provide an opening for another Christian to be encouraged that they are not alone (I always take note when I see a family pray in public), or better yet, a reason for an unbeliever to ask you why you do that (this has happened to me, especially when I am in other countries).

Say grace. Don’t underestimate what it might be worth. Be serious though, you’re talking to God. A flippant thanks while bending down to pick up the fork you shoved off the table is no better than using his name in vain.