Updated: Feb 25, 2021
The dinner table is a very special place in the Robertson household. It’s a place of warm food, meaningful conversations, and a time of prayer. It is part of my day that I can unwind with those I love, and I truly look forward to it. But I often think about what the dinner table looks like through the eyes of the average American home.
A study by New York University Langone Health found that, in the past 20 years, the frequency of family dinners has declined by 33%.
In addition, a recent poll by YouGov found that 62% of parents with children under 18 wish they had family dinners “much more often” or “somewhat more often.”
The fast-paced American culture has often shoved aside family priorities and thrown away any sense of meaningful and healthy conversation. The table has become a decorative household item versus a wholesome desk of fellowship and support. And I get it. Some days are harder than others, and sometimes we simply just don’t have the time or energy. But I think that the benefits of being together at the dinner table far outweigh some of the “inconveniences.”
According to The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, children who share family dinners three or more times per week:
Are less likely to be overweight
Are more likely to eat healthy food
Perform better academically
Are less likely to engage in risky behaviors (drugs, alcohol, sexual activity)
Have better relationships with their parents
There are tremendous benefits in prioritizing the family table. Have you noticed that Jesus had special moments with His disciples at the table? It was in the last hours of His life that He chose the table in the upper room to commune with His followers and share His heart with them. It was there that He broke the bread and commanded, “this do in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19).
Jesus invites you to pull up a chair at His table. He wants your fellowship and longs to give you the nourishment that you need for your journey. We have been talking in the Back To Basics series about our alone time with God. We looked at how to make the most of our devotions and how to dwell in the secret place and how to keep the door of fellowship open to Christ.
Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”
Imagine that! Jesus Christ at your table! What a thought the King of Kings wishes to be my honored guest. It has the idea that Jesus sits down at our table and lets us be the host. We spread the table and pour out our hearts to Him--praise, thanksgiving, honor, and petitions.
But then, it gets even better. He says, “…and he with me.” This holds the idea that the roles are switched. I am no longer the host, but the guest. He is the host. He is the one that spreads the table. He spills out His heart to me that I may “…know him and the power of His resurrection.” (Philippians 3:10).
“Nobody spreads the table like Jesus spreads the table.”. -Evangelist Scott Pauley
God gifts us with His heart in written form. His Word bears the truth of His character and leads us to a place of repentance.
But I think we often have the same response to the Lord’s table as we do the family table. We get too busy and side-tracked to notice what He has prepared. We come and quickly consume what is on our plate without ever considering Who put it there. Or we rush into His presence, vent to Him about our problems and never stay long enough for Him to share His heart. Our conversation is filled with a plethora of “I want” or “Why can’t you” statements, and all the while if we would just be still, we would know that He is God and He has it all under control.
Can I encourage you to come to table with Christ? Pour out your heart to Him, and let Him pour out His heart to you. Don’t be in a hurry to leave. Stay awhile. You might just learn something.