The Shared Table: Why Meals Matter

Jesus didn’t run projects, establish ministries, create programs, or put on events. He ate meals.
— Tim Chester, A Meal with Jesus

It is so easy to think of all the reasons why we couldn’t possibly host a meal or invite someone to coffee: we are too busy, we are broke, our kids are crazy, my house is messy. Let us instead focus on why we should.

When we share our table, we confirm another’s dignity. When we invite someone to share a meal with us, we say, “I bought extra food. I cooked (or ordered) a yummy meal. I made sure the wooden blocks were picked up so you wouldn’t step on one and have to cuss. I did this because I would like the pleasure of your company. I don’t expect anything in return. I would like to get to know you, and you are worth all the effort.” 

When we share our table, we mirror our Father in heaven. When God welcomes us home, he will throw a celebratory feast in our honor. He wants as many people to be there as possible. All will be welcome at his table, if they choose to come. By welcoming all to our own table, we get to experience a foretaste of glory divine.

When we share our table, we are reminded that we are one body. It’s hard to hold a grudge and simultaneously ask someone to pass the potatoes. As we listen to each other’s stories, we see their passions, we rejoice with them in their victories, and we feel for them in their failures. We are reminded we are one body, one family, with one goal: showing people who Jesus is.

When we share our table, we remember what Jesus did on the cross. Jesus chose bread and wine as memory triggers for us. Why did he choose eating and drinking as His memorial? He could’ve chosen anything: prayer, praise songs, jumping jacks. Anything. But he chose food and drink. We eat three times a day, to live, to refuel. He wants his sacrifice to be our focus, to remind us we have hope.

If we lost sight of these precepts, then family meals and even shared meals become mundane and burdensome. We may become bitter preparing meals and doing the dishes day after day. However, if we keep our eyes open, we will see the Lord working around our dinner table, making connections, building relationships, offering encouragement, and providing accountability. 

Read what author Michael Frost had to say about sharing your table next.

This is an excerpt from Issue No. 1. To order this issue, go here. To subscribe to Part&Parcel, go here