What if I told you there was a portrait of heaven right in the middle of your dining room?
Recently a friend of mine posted a photo of a beautiful table setting, complete with fine china. And I commented, “That’s beautiful! There’s just something in our hearts that loves sitting around a table with loved ones. I think it’s the eternity in our hearts—preparing us for the feast in heaven with the Lord.”
"There’s just something in our hearts that loves sitting around a table with loved ones. I think it’s the eternity in our hearts—preparing us for the feast in heaven with the Lord.”
After I shared that, I thought that I should really write a blog post around this idea, because I have so many thoughts about this topic. Viewing meal time as a picture of heaven has really changed me. And what better time of the year to share my thoughts on sharing meals and hospitality than at the cusp of the season full of feasting! With Thanksgiving next week, my hope is to give you a new way of looking at meal time and sharing food with family and friends.
Our family lives a lot of life around our table. Three meals a day, homeschooling, crafting, school projects, game nights, and more. But by far the most anticipated time of day for me is when we can all sit together as a family for dinner.
It’s not because I especially love to cook. Because I don’t. But I have seen that food is a way to love and serve my family. And it’s certainly not because my kids are perfect, respectful little angels that never act up around the dinner table.
No, I love dinner time because when all ten of us are gathered around the table, it truly just feels like home.
Meals Shared In The Bible
Practicing hospitality and having meals together is a tradition as old as human history. So many cultures have rich traditions surrounding food. We get a glimpse into the traditions of the Patriarchs and many others sharing meals together as we read the Bible. So many Jewish festivals are celebrated by feasting. And so much of Jesus’ ministry surrounded times of eating with those to whom He ministered.
Jesus fed the multitudes. He had meals of fish on the shore with his disciples. And at the end of Jesus’ life, of all the things He could have done, He chose to break bread with his closest friends.
Indeed, supping together is a common theme in the Bible. But why? And why does sitting around the dinner table with family and friends feel so much like home? And why do we have such a strong reaction when we see people eating by themselves at restaurants? I think it’s because there is still one feast in the Bible that has yet to happen—the marriage feast of the Lamb. And I truly believe it is this feast that our hearts are being prepared for as Believers as we eat with others on earth. When we eat together, something stirs in our souls and we know that this is just a shadow of the reality that is to come. Truly eternity in our hearts.
Sharing This Picture With Others
As a Christian mom pondering how important meal time is as a symbol, I am keenly aware of how much I must fight to protect meal time. And furthermore, how much more I ought to practice hospitality to others. After all, if it is true that meal time together is a symbol of the eternity in our hearts, then it is a powerful way to share truth and love, minister to the hurting, and celebrate with joy.
Meal Time Worth Fighting For
Yet in our busy world, family meal time is one of the first things to get tossed out the window. It has been replaced with TV trays and fast food on the way to soccer games.
Knowing that we have a real enemy that wants us to get distracted from what is truly important, I try to pay attention to the things that generally get tossed out of my schedule first when I am stressed or too busy. Often times those are the very things I should actually be keeping. Such as prayer and Bible reading time and family time. I encourage you to keep a mental note of the things that get pushed aside easily in your life, and fight for the things that are truly important!
If, as humans and as Believers, we love to feast together because our hearts are being prepared for a feast with Jesus, I think it makes it all the more important to protect our family meal times.
Some Final Thoughts
Dinner time seems far more special now, doesn’t it? It’s made me far more conscious of what we do around the table. What are our conversations like? Are we making memories? Are we pleasing the Lord? Are we being intentional and kind?
Viewing meal time in light of eternity has also helped me shift my attitude when it comes to cooking. I mentioned earlier that I don’t love to cook. But cooking doesn’t seem so burdensome when I view meal time as a way to love my children and have conversations that point them to Jesus. In fact, it’s actually pretty delightful!
And it’s not just my family’s meal times that this perspective has changed. I also have become way more intentional about practicing hospitality. Time spent around a table seems so trivial, and yet it is so powerful! Our generosity shown by providing a meal and fellowship could be the very thing a person needs to see the love and compassion of Jesus in their lives.
Does your family have regular meal times together? What can you do at your dinner table to point your family and friends to Jesus?