Meals offer organic space for conversation and connection.
This past weekend, while visiting my parents in Northern California, Gary and I enjoyed many meals with family. We talked about life, shared stories, reminisced on past gatherings, pondered the future, and laughed about unique family dynamics.
Gooey cinnamon rolls and cheesy egg casserole met us in the morning while family-favorites like chicken chalupas and bbq ribs rounded out the evenings. The table offered a place and space to be together. Our stomachs, minds, and hearts experienced nourishment by sitting together and sharing together.
The table has long been the focal point for relational life. Those with whom we consume food are family, friends, or even someone on the way towards becoming a friend.
Meal – any of the regular occasions in a day when a reasonably large amount of food is eaten, such as breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Jesus extended grace through the meals He shared with others. Throughout the Gospels, we read of Jesus gracious encounters with those in need of kindness and truth. He came eating and drinking with thoroughly imperfect people, some who recognized their need and some who did not. I consider my need for Jesus. He saves, redeems, and transforms not because of what I do or don’t do, but because of who He is. My awareness of His grace broadens as I reflect on these biblical accounts. What do you notice about your needs and Jesus’ grace?
I find myself wondering about the ways Jesus interacted with people surrounding meals. At times He initiated the meal, and other times He waited for an invitation. I wonder how I might initiate meals with friends and family in this season. What about you? How will I respond to invitations by others to join in a time of eating and drinking? How about you?
In Luke’s Gospel, we read about Jesus confronting, comforting, and connecting with people like you and me in at least ten meals. Jesus even used stories highlighting meals to emphasize important truths and extend challenges to those present. Savor God’s Word: read and explore these accounts of meals with Jesus.
Lunch with Levi (Luke 5:27-32)
The woman who loved much (Luke 7:36-50)
The miraculous meal (Luke 9:10-17)
At Mary and Martha’s (Luke 10:38-42)
Confronting the Pious (Luke 11:37-54)
Best seat in the house (Luke 14:1-11)
The greatest party ever (parable) (Luke 14:15-24)
The running father (parable) (Luke 15:11-37)
Lazarus and the rich man (parable) (Luke 16:19-31)
With Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10)
The Last Supper (Luke 22:14-20)
On the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35)
The great reveal (Luke 24:36-49)
What do you notice? I become aware of Jesus’ unhurried presence with people. What do you learn from Jesus interactions with others? Jesus extended compassion along with thoughtful and meaningful conversation. In what ways do these stories spur you on as a follower of Jesus? How might following Jesus’ example impact the ways you engage in meals with others?
We enter a season when meals and feasting abound, more than other times of the year. With whom will you share meals? How does partaking of a meal together connect you with others? In what ways can you extend the grace of God to others during a meal?
Join me in creating a season of authentic connection and extravagant compassion by sharing meals with family, friends, and even those on the way to becoming friends. Jesus showed us how to make the most of meal – let us follow His example.
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Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.
Matthew 11:19 – The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”
Luke 10:38-42 – As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Read these recommended books to fill your soul.
Ed Drew. Meals With Jesus: A Journey Through Luke’s Gospel for the Whole Family (A Daily Dinner Table Devotional for Families). Surrey, England. 2021.
Tim Chester. A Meal with Jesus: Discovering Grace, Community, and Mission around the Table. Wheaton, IL. 2011.
Sprinklings of Truth: Soak in meaningful songs. Check out these music videos to lift up your spirit.
Sidewalk Prophets. Come to the Table. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXXxLwxfo0U
Zach Williams. To the Table. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9N-bGVtKDc
Puddles for Prayer: Thank you for praying for upcoming travel and speaking engagements.
Click here if you’d like to watch the message I preached at Manna from Heaven Center. The actual message is from roughly minute 31 until 1.17 on the recording.
November 29 – Littleton, CO
Sisterhood, Southfellowship Church