Over the coming weeks, we will share many meals as we gather with our families for the greatest seasons of the year.

Meals. What is the purpose of meals in your everyday life? Sustenance, yes, surely. But beyond that.

During the holiday season, we use the time at the table to catch up, to talk about days gone by and to make new memories. So, we see in holiday meals that there is a greater purpose for sitting down at the table aside from our ongoing need for sustenance.

When you consider your daily routines of gathering and eating, how often have you thought of these times as a way to live out your faith?

Jesus loved a gathering and a good meal. In scripture, we often find Him hanging out with others enjoying a meal.

There are so many things about a meal that go along with themes from Jesus’s life and scripture.

Eugene Peterson said, “And always, deeply embedded in the common meal-sometimes it’s invisible, and we don’t see it-is the experience of sacrifice: one life given so that another may live.” Think on that. An animal or a carrot gave up life, so you could have life!

Meals are about offering, giving and sacrifice. When we invite someone to our table, we are giving up our wants for another. Giving up time we spend watching TV or reading a book. And spending money on food for another instead of spending that money on ourselves.

What are you doing with the opportunities to welcome, listen to and love another that a meal provides? The older I get, the more I am convinced that an open home, open door and an open table are essentials to living the life Christ has called us to live.

Consider these words from the Emmaus account in Luke 24, “13 That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. 16 But God kept them from recognizing him…30 As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them. 31 Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him…”

What is the true reason many people accept an invitation to a meal? It’s simple. They are hungry. Not necessarily hungry for food. But hungry to be seen. Hungry to be heard. Hungry for someone to find value in who they are.

And that’s why what happens at our meals is important.

We see Jesus opening people’s eyes to who He is in Luke 24. And in the busy, often unfriendly, fast-paced world we live in, how many eyes of others could we open to who Jesus really is and what it looks like to follow Him, if we would just offer an invitation, open our home and sit down and enjoy a meal with another?

Joey Haynes is a follower of Jesus, married way out of his league, has two of the coolest children in the universe and is blessed to work with an amazing community of believers known as The Church at Rome.

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