Families gathering at the table to give thanks to God, and enjoy a meal has been replaced with a quick bite to eat on the way out, on a t.v. tray in front of the t.v., in front of a computer while we work, or on a cell phone checking social media.
Unfortunately, gatherings have become reserved for special occasions instead of the norm. But there is something special that happens when we gather around a table to enjoy a meal with family and friends.
As a family who maintains a very productive schedule (as we never like to refer ourselves as being busy), sitting around the table is a priority for us. It gives us the opportunity to come together and share our high’s and low’s of the day; encourage one another, and give thanks to God for what He has done in our lives.
We’ve made this a lifestyle. It’s just what we do. It’s how we roll, by inviting others for a meal and enjoying each other’s company. The intentional gathering around the table allows us to have intimacy in our conversation. Encouraging one another, with laughter, and yes sometimes tears. Even our kids are sensitive to us bringing people to gather around the table.
One year, our son came home from school and told us that in class, he heard a student talk about living with his mom who was living with some family because they were homeless. His parents were divorced; his mom couldn’t work due to an illness, and they haven’t celebrated Christmas for years. So our son asked us if we could invite them over for dinner.
As a parent, you can only imagine the joy we felt in our heart’s. That our son, who was 14 at the time was sensitive to others around him. He knew that what we do around the table would bring hope to another family. So of course, we said yes!
Needless to say, we not only had dinner, we had dessert. And before they left, we told them there was a gift for them under the Christmas tree. Tears rolled down both their faces as they expressed how overwhelmed they were.
We know a lot of people who don’t like to be hospitable for whatever reason. They feel their house isn’t presentable or they don’t have enough money, etc. But the truth is, we are instructed in God’s Word to be hospitable to each other especially in our homes.
“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
~ Hebrews 13:2 (KJV)
“Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.”
~ 1 Peter 4:9 (NKJV)
“When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.”
~ Romans 12:13 (NLT)
“But when you give a banquet or a reception, invite the poor, the disabled, the lame, and the blind.14 Then you will be blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied), because they have no way of repaying you, and you will be recompensed at the resurrection of the just (upright).” ~ Luke 14:13-14 (AMPC)
Jesus himself prioritized His dinner meal before His crucifixion, known as The Last Super with those who were closes to Him (Matthew 26:17-30, Corinthians 11:23-30). He used that meal as the time to share the importance of what He was about to do for all mankind.
Jesus used that time of gathering not only to enjoy a meal, but it was an intimate time of fellowship where He left wisdom and teachings of how to remember that night by observing communion. He taught them the significance of being a servant, by the washing of the disciple’s feet, and the importance of forgiveness.
Of course it’s not practical, to have a large gathering every night, but we can pursue small gatherings more often with our family and friends. Yes, on special occasions, we can have nice table settings with large meals. But a gathering can be with a friend who may be going through a tough time; bringing a meal to someone who is sick and sitting with them, or purposing to have dinner as a family around the kitchen table.
The point is, be intentional in your gathering with family and friends. Most importantly, be sensitive to whom the Holy Spirit would have you invite into your home to experience God’s love through your warm welcome, a meal, and your conversations.
So, we ask you, who will purpose to gather with this week?
“Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink,
and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God.”
~ Ecclesiastes 2:24 (NKJV)
This post has been shared on Grace and Truth a weekly Christian link up.
~ André and Timberley Gray