And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:46-47 ESV
Table fellowship, sharing a meal around a table is invaluable to the growth of the body of Christ. Just as the Lord’s supper is central to our worship, table fellowship is central to our sense of family, and community in the church. Sitting face to face, sharing a meal, and conversing draws us together and strengthens the bond between believers.
When I first became a Christian, I was a part of a congregation that truly believed in table fellowship. We had fellowship meal at the building once a month, evening fellowship and singing after every Sunday evening service, brother keeps groups once a month and whatever home Bible study we were involved in it usually included dinner prior to study. It was through these times of table fellowship that I grew closer to my brothers and sisters as well the Lord.
While this went on the body was strong and healthy, but things began to change slowly. There were those that began to grumble and complain about the number of times we ate together. They thought there were better things we could do than to gather round tables and eat. Surely there were activities that we could do together that would afford the same amount of fellowship and growth.
It wasn’t true. Those that wanted to change things began to wander away and find other things to do. The problem was that many of the other things they chose to do had nothing to do with their church family and they began to withdraw from the body. The family that eats together, stays together. It works that way in the home and in the church.
We raised our kids this way. We had as many meals as we could around the table. Some of my happiest memories come from the great conversations we had with our kids and their friends around the dinner table. There were times when we remained at the table for a couple of hours after we finished the meal, just enjoying each other. It was truly a blessing. It still is today, when we share a meal with our kids, either at home or at a restaurant we still linger in conversation around the table.
This past Sunday I went to lunch with some folks after worship, we had a great time. We lingered around the table for a long while after we finished our meal. We had great conversation and got to know each other even more. It was a blessing for me.
Table fellowship worked for the early church in its development, it will work for us today. Invite someone to share a meal with you, you will be blessed by the time you share.
© 2015 Leo J. Woodman