One of the most famous and important meals in the history of humanity was when Jesus sat down with his disciples for the Last Supper immediately prior to His arrest and subsequent crucifixion (Matthew 26:26-29). Jesus also reclined at the table at other times during his ministry on earth. In Matthew 9:10 Jesus sat at the dinner table with sinners and tax collectors. In Mark 14:3 Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper reclining at the table and in Luke 7:36-37 one of the Pharisees requested Jesus dine with him and He accepted the offer. There are many more times where we see Jesus dining with individuals.
I believe these examples are highly significant. Jesus utilized this time at the table to disciple and influence peoples' lives. Should we not do the same? This seems to be a lost tradition among the Christians in America today. It used to be that after the day was over and everyone in the family was home from school and work they would all recline at the table for dinner. This time was often filled with stories from the day and shared laughter. Every member of the family found value at the dinner table where they could enjoy a meal together and bond with one another.
Dining together offers families great opportunities. Parents are able to converse with their child(ren) and offer encouragement and guidance. Children can ask questions regarding subjects heard at school or on the bus. The parents are ultimately able to share their values and convictions during the evening meal. Children thrive when parents offer guidance and parents find value when children ask questions and seek guidance. Our children need to learn values in the home and then school can be a place to express those values.
No one can deny the importance of quality time at the dinner table. Jesus found great importance in mealtime and used it to share His life and wisdom with others. Let’s move back to what our Savior and Redeemer participated in. Let’s go back to the dinner table where the Christian family is encouraged and valued. Not every family has time for a sit-down meal every night of the week but if we care about mentoring our children and nurturing our family’s spiritual and emotional health then we can make time a couple of days a week to share a meal with the ones closest to us. We will see great reward if we let dinner be a time of laughter, encouragement, and discipline. After all, the family structure, which God instituted, deserves our time and effort.