Wisdom Values the Dinner Table
Amazing connections happen at the dinner table, but only if we actually sit and talk at the table. Has the “art of the dinner table” been lost?
Wisdom values the dinner table. Or rather, what can happen around the table.
What happens at the dinner table? Unfortunately the atmosphere can too often include screens, complaining, anger, and a downright mess. But dinner tables done right build family, connect with others, create precious memories, and prayerfully help the “diners” see God in action, resulting in a desire to grow in relationship with him.
Our family, for many decades, has taken a week in the summer for family vacation. Since Wyndham can’t travel anymore, we did a “staycation” this week. It was fabulous, meaningful, and fun. We played, prayed, swam, did crazy Olympics, played tennis, corn hole, and gathered often around the dinner table. The crazy antics brought laughter and tears to Wyndham, as he watched.
Jesus was a firm believer in sharing meals. In fact, Matthew 11:19 tells us that Jesus came eating and drinking. He valued shared meals and realized the impact they have on all involved. He ate with sinners (Matthew 9:9-11), and invites us all to his feast (Matthew 22:4). He shared dinner with close friends (John 12:2), and in Luke 14 used the dinner table to teach valuable lessons.
Tonight, as our family of 17 gathered around the dinner table I asked the question…What happens at the dinner table? Here are some of their responses (both kids and adults):
We talk about the highs and lows of our days.
We celebrate birthdays and victories or encourage someone who is discouraged.
We listen to each other and find out how everyone is doing.
We encourage each other.
We talk about our schedules.
Sometimes we throw food (spoken for the 18-month-old).:
We have friends over to build relationships.
We meet new people.
We try new foods.
Wyndham has always valued and protected our dinner table. Over the years we have built family around the dinner table. We’ve explored emotions. Laughed. Cried. Shared fears. Shared victories. Shared defeats. Truthfully, every mealtime wasn’t just like this. Sometimes they were hurried, sometimes someone was in a mood, or was distracted—but the sum of the times around the table added up to feelings of love, warmth, and family that linger with us.
Our dinner table has also seated many a neighbor or acquaintance, who often shared they had never before been invited to dinner with a neighbor. Many Bible studies began at the dinner table, resulting in changed lives.
Wanderers from the faith (mainly because of Wyndham’s persistent desire to see hearts restored to God) have felt loved, welcomed, and safe around the dinner table. I can think of numerous men and women who were helped back to God because of his commitment to use Monday evenings to have dinner with some who had wandered from their faith.
Something happens around the table as we connect with one other. The senses of taste, sound, smell, and sight somehow morph together to imprint our hearts, leaving us with a feeling of love and belonging—family. Jesus knew this, and realized that sharing meals together would reveal hearts, melt hearts, and capture memories. He shared many such meals with his closest friends as well as strangers and sinners. These meals helped them never forget his love and call. We still remember him together through communion…which by definition is not an individual or solo activity.
Wisdom knows that the dinner table is powerful. It doesn’t have to be pretty to “do its thing.” But it must be filled with love.
May we all create such dinner tables as we follow Jesus’ example.