Devotional: Table time is an important part of life

Published 5:55 pm Saturday, September 16, 2023

Everyone has probably been criticized or denigrated at some point in their life, but one thing I have never been called is a slouch at the table. I wish I could say that I am proud of this, but I will say that I deeply appreciate what fantastic food I have gotten to taste over the years. Something about food is that our eating tells our story. How we eat, when we eat, what we eat, and with whom we eat all reflect our values, our history, and our love. The meals themselves can be story-worthy. Times spent around the table and the ways we share in meals are dear to us, and heaven help the soul that trifles with the story we hold in our eating. 

Table time has always been important to people. Jesus used meals as one of the cornerstones of his love for people. Already known as someone who fed others and shared meals with all, he even gave us a meal to remember him in his last supper. In simply sharing in a meal, he rewrote our story and gave us an entirely new covenant defined in his grace. What is especially interesting is that the meal Jesus was having with his disciples was itself an older meal of remembrance. It was a Passover meal when people remembered being delivered from ancestral slavery (Exodus). It was an amazing story of God freeing God’s people that they were supposed to eat and remember every year. 

Of course, they didn’t. It is easy for us to neglect the deeper story. It does seem like we are a microwave oven people in a Dutch oven world. We want quick, simple, and easy when what the world needs is time and effort. We cannot speed through life in fast-food obsession. Why does fast food even exist? We don’t have time for life; we don’t have time for each other. We don’t have time to savor a deeper love.

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What role does food play in your life beyond simple nourishment? There are missions out there that specifically seek to bring people together over food who would not normally get together. Some of this has happened in Farmville and should happen more often. Food ministries should also always be a priority since there is literally enough food out there for everyone and no one should be hungry. With supply issues and environmental change, food scarcity may be a growing problem, but it is one we can meet together. Jesus fed people, even with “himself,” and invited us to continue to remember that gift. When we eat, he should be at the heart of our story. When we eat together, our story gets even better.

Be blessed in God’s glory.

Rev. Dr. Peter Smith is the pastor for Farmville Presbyterian Church. He can be reached at