If you are invited to come to my home for dinner at 6, you will rarely sit at the table before 6:30. Maybe, possibly, we might eat at 7:00. Why? Because it’s not about the dinner. It’s not an obligation. We don’t think, “Hey. We’ll start at 6:05, eat for 30 minutes and finish at 6:35. Then we can visit, eat dessert at 7:00, and they can be out of here by 8 or so.” It’s not about fulfilling a commitment. It’s not about how we’ve had this on the books for weeks. You are not a check mark on my list of priorities or another event on the to do list. You are just here. We are together. It’s about everything beautiful that happens around a table. We are unified in the sharing of something bigger than ourselves.
Our culture has moved everything into a realm of being swift and efficient. Technology has helped us to move faster in order to save us time for what is important. Only, we aren’t really following that line of logic, are we? Are we using down time to do important things, or are we relinquishing down time in order to be more “productive” by doing something else? When it comes to our tables, it seems like we just eat fast food on the run so we can go on to the next activity. We rarely sit at the table and engage each other in conversation anymore. Why? Why don’t we see table time as important time for restoring our souls and growing in our openness and brokenness with each other? I propose that we desperately need the discipline of table fellowship.
Which leads me to today’s challenge. I want you to begin to think about slowing down around your table. I want you to reap the benefits of sharing a meal with someone. I want you to see how very important table fellowship is to slowing down and creating a place of refuge. So, let’s do this:
Today’s challenge is to share a meal with someone. Anyone. If you have a family to cook for, spend time cooking them dinner. Eat together. Ask each other questions. Put the phones and gadgets away. Engage. If you are single, invite someone over. Or out to lunch. If you have to get creative, share a meal in the break room at work. Don’t eat over your desk. Put the phone, tablet, computer, whatever away and actually speak with your colleagues for once. You have nothing to prove except that you care. This is for your benefit as much as theirs. We are all in need of connection. No one is exempt.
Do everything you can to complete this challenge today. Don’t put if off or plan it for another day. If you are lonely, ask someone you really trust to join you for dinner or coffee. I know we tend to say that it is rude to invite yourself into a situation, but today you might just have to. I’m giving you permission. If you’re alone, tell someone how it feels. Do not eat alone today. Table fellowship is life giving. And life changing. Slow down, and let the table give life to you and others today!