We are entering the time of year when harvest season is coming to an end. Growing up in the Panhandle of Texas this time of year is near and dear to me. For my friends and family that are farmers, it means a short reprieve from the field, a time to rest and prepare for the new season. For my family directly it meant the busy time of year. My mom has worked for a cotton gin for 30+ years and this is her busy time as farmer harvest their cotton and the cotton gin takes over. The fall meant long work days and late nights. From October to January it meant we were either on our own for dinner, there was something in the crockpot, or we ate as a family after 8 pm.
As I got older it was the rare occasion that we sat down as a family and ate that I appreciate and am grateful for today. I know those meals were important to my parents, as kids we take them for granted, but as a parent when we can all gather and retreat from the business of life it is special. We had the opportunity to talk about our days, what was going on in our lives, how school was going, and so on. Conversations I likely found annoying as a youth but I adore as a parent.
These meals are important not only to family structures but to other relationships as well. They are important to couples, both married and not married. Meals are important to friend groups as well, no matter how small or large. When we take the time to gather over a meal something happens. We let our guard down, we are more comfortable, we open up and we share. We are relaxed. I believe we need to do this more. That's right my friend, you need to eat more.
Jesus often ate with people. All kinds of people, family, friends, strangers, sinners, Jews, and Gentiles, and everything in between. In my opinion, Jesus is the epitome of consistency. Jesus is Jesus in every room he walks into, but something special happened at these meals, in these times of fellowship. Rather than Jesus, teaching, and healing in large groups of people, these meals offered a more intimate setting. Not so much for Jesus but those who were eating with him. They had the opportunity to relax, to rest, to let their guard down. They didn't feel the need to be "on". They were fully engaged. The result was something truly life changing. They allowed the words that Jesus spoke to sink in, to begin to change their hearts.
This still means a lot to us today. The way we engage each other when we sit down at a table. Are we giving people our full attention or are we concerned with others in the room, are we preoccupied with our phones, are we thinking about the next task we have to complete at work? I'm very guilty of this when I sit down to eat. I have to be very intentional when we sit at any table to be fully engaged with the people who have joined me. Not so much for them, but for me. I am the one that misses out on the live-giving moments that are in front of me.
So regardless of where you sit down to eat or who you sit down with, relax be fully engaged, don't miss out on the life-giving moments that right there in front of you.
Love, Pray, Give, & Rejoice!