The Dinner Table

Mike Focht 10/20/2023

No one likes being watched while they are eating. There is something strange about realizing that someone scrutinizes us as we shovel food into our mouths. That said, there is something to say about breaking bread with a man or woman and watching what happens at that table. We might learn more about a man or woman of God by watching them eat than by watching them do just about anything else. 

   Just imagine if we watched a man’s dinner table for a two-year period. What would we see? 

   First, we would see what he eats. We would see if his food was mainly junk or if there was regular care and thought in what was served. We would see if there was too little because of a failure to provide, or we would see the daily faithfulness of God’s provision. We would also see if too much led to waste, drunkenness, or ostentation or if there was enough, moderation and humility. 

   Second, we would see how he eats. We would see gluttony that could lead to lethargy, illness, life-altering consequences, or self-control that brings energy and health. We would see patience, consideration for others, and thankfulness to God for the food provided, or we would see a regular attitude of hurried and distracted selfishness and ingratitude toward those at the table and the God who gives. We would also see that from time to time, the man of God does not eat; his place is empty because he is fasting. Then we would know that this man does not live by bread alone. 

   Third, we would see those that he eats with. We would watch as he eats with his spouse in sweet intimacy, or if he eats angry and alone, or with an adulterous companion. We would see if his children are happy and respectful around him or fearful, sullen, and eager to escape from his presence. We would see if friends and strangers are welcome or if he only accepts hospitality and never gives hospitality. We would see the seats filled with the righteous of whom the world is not worthy or if his table is more welcoming to the scornful and worldly.

   Finally, we would hear the spoken conversation—the spirit of the fellowship. We would listen to prayers of thanks, simple and personal experience with the Word, true fellowship in Christ, loving and patient correction to the young ones, joy and laughter, and an unashamed witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we were to hear anything else, it would tell us much of what we would need to know. 

   I would say that watching a man at his dinner table would tell us all we need to know about that man and his relationship with Jesus Christ. Maybe that is why the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write, Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. The man who can eat and drink to God’s glory will not have a hard time living for God’s glory anywhere else. To eat and drink to God’s glory is not a suggestion. God commands us not to forget about His glory at our dinner table! If you and I were to sanctify our eating and drinking, it would go a long way toward God’s work in sanctifying the rest of our lives. 

   Another human may not watch you at your meals for the next two years, but we must remember that we are not alone. Interestingly, in the gospels, we never see Jesus turn down an invitation to dinner by friend or enemy alike. Jesus even invited Himself to someone’s house on more than one occasion. Those were important moments to Him then, and I have no doubt they are just as important to Him now.