It’s clear our meals today carry far less importance than they used to.

I have to tell you I was surprised at how much the bible talks about meals. Back then, meals meant something from who you ate with to where you ate and who you invited. Meals were symbolic affairs, not the non-descript wolfing down of sustenance we know today. Breaking bread with someone meant you accepted them; you were friends.

There’s a story in Matthew 22 about a man who gave a wedding feast for his son. Despite all his best efforts to set an awesome table he couldn’t get anyone to show up. This would have been a major embarrassment so ultimately he asks anyone and everyone to come from all walks of life. Jesus tells the story to show that the table these not-so-desirable people are invited to is like the kingdom of heaven. The fact that those people are invited to it gives a guy like me hope because back then you were judged by who you chose to eat with you.

Luke 5:29-32 tells a story about this: “And Levi gave a big reception for Him in his house; and there was a great crowd of tax collectors and other people who were reclining at the table with them. The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered and said to them, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” Jesus ate and was present with whoever needed him. He didn’t choose to sit in a booth walled off from the rest of the people at the restaurant. He chose a table in the middle and moved other tables right alongside so everyone ate at a common table. Inclusion was the name of the game.

He also ate with people who didn’t like him so much. Luke 14:1 says, “Now one Sabbath when Jesus went to dine at the house of a leader of the Pharisees, they were watching him closely.” Jesus ripped on the Pharisees a lot and having dinner with one of them was like sitting down to a rare steak in the lion’s den. He knew

it was fraught with peril, kind of like lunch with a teenager when you try to make conversation. Still, it’s worth it. His philosophy was to be completely giving with the meal you offered. He outlines that in Luke 14:12-14: “And He also went on to say to the one who had invited Him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. ” But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” For him, meals were an investment in the people you ate with.

So, make your meals mean something. I know it’s hard when they’re ordered by number and eaten in the minivan but consider who you’re breaking bread with even there. You might be talking to a prodigal son or daughter and a celebration is in order. Sure, the fattened calf is on a bun and covered with special sauce but it’s still important. Remember, Jesus performed his first miracle (water to wine) at a wedding feast. It may feel like it’s that hard getting your teenager to talk to you but over a meal we seem to be more willing to open up. Making the effort can lead to the kind of situation the disciples experienced in Acts 2:46. “Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart.” Gladness and sincerity of heart: now there’s a good thing to have.

I hope this gave you an appreciation for your meals and a little insight into their importance. I think we could all treat them with more respect and see them as a way to connect. If you know someone that could use a little help with their perspective please share this with them.

I write about life and experiences and lessons learned at my blog www.giffinlifecom. Follow that link if you want to read more. If you like what you read there I hope you’ll subscribe. Subscribing just means you will get an email on Saturdays with links to the previous week’s posts. Subscribing is free and you can do that by clicking here. And please don’t worry, I don’t share or sell emails so you won’t get a bunch of spam.