The practice of sharing food and life together, along with offering praise and thanks to God has been neglected and eroded because of our busy lifestyles. We live in a busy culture that values instant, fast paced activities and when we do slow down long enough to connect, we like nothing more than to complain.

Do you have time to keep reading?

People don’t like having to wait around much and are often eager to think about and get onto the next thing. Nevertheless, we were made for relationship; for community. When we’re hurrying, we miss out on our most essential relationships-especially God.

Giving thanks and praise to God is a key Biblical concept, since everything comes from Him. We live and breathe because God allows us to. He created and sustains us, and everything else. How readily we forget that!

In our society, it is easier to complain than to be thankful. We all naturally fall into prideful thinking that somehow, we are deserving and this brings with it an attitude of entitlement. Human beings are self-centred and our culture pushes us further into self-focused self-sufficiency. In being independent and self-sufficient, we have forgotten that the Lord God is in control and that everything comes from Him. Our life and breath comes from Him, not to mention provision for our needs.

What do your present meal time habits say about your lifestlye?

The dinner table can be the place where deep discussions are held about the Sunday message at church or the difficulties at school. This is where young people can learn to improve their communication and relational skills. We can all learn from each other at the table, bringing what each of us has to give. Sharing food brings with it the opportunity to engage each other in real conversations in order to deepen understanding and relationships.

I grew up in a fairly big family and meal times with all of us are still a great affair. They can get raucous and messy, particularly with small children around! I think others are sometimes surprised by the noise level and humour! That said, they’re certainly not boring!

Yet, it was always exciting having guests, particularly our youth leaders coming to join us. These have been times of fruitful, sometimes emotionally taxing or hard conversations. We have learnt things about ourselves and others, and had fun in the process.

Likewise, at our home group it is these times of food and fellowship that are some of the best times. We connect, we laugh, we share stories, we ask for prayer, we debate and sometimes we cry. That is community; communal living, doing life together.

This is important for children and young people particularly, but for adults as well. We were created by God for relationship-with Him and others. Fellowship, conversation and sharing life together is how we grow together and these times should include expressed thanks to God, the giver of good things.

Research shows that counting our blessings and having gratitude is good for our emotional health and happiness.

If it isn’t already, could you include it in your daily and weekly routine? Jesus and his disciples regularly ate together and had many conversations and discussions. It was a good opportunity for teaching and being an example to the disciples and this was continued by the disciples in the early church.

You could even consider opening the Bible together after a meal and sharing bite sized chunks of Scripture together. Real food for your soul and spirit after refuelling your body.

Who could you invite to come over for supper one day, taking the opportunity to show hospitality to another and involve your family in the process? This could be a great way to teach your children and provide additional opportunities for instruction and education afterwards!

Meal times can either be a quick take-away or an opportunity to choose a lifestyle of meaningful relationships.