When my kids were young, I tried to make dinner time around the table a priority, and it wasn’t easy. Between soccer practice and gymnastics and homework, it was hard to bring everyone together at the table. Yet, recent studies reveal that having dinner together as a family at least four times a week has a positive effect on a child’s development. A consistent family dinner time has been linked to lower risk of obesity, substance abuse, and eating disorders, and an increased chance of graduating from high school. Time around the table together not only provides an opportunity for conversation, but it also bolsters a sense of security and togetherness. Studies also show that children who eat dinner with their family are more likely to understand, acknowledge, and follow the boundaries and expectations set by their parents.[i]
Now if we can see the benefits of time around the dinner table together as a family, how much more is our life enriched as we sit at the table of our heavenly Father? Dining with Him and enjoying the rich nourishment from His word will not only give us a sense of security and togetherness, but will also make us more aware of His direction and desires for our lives. Spending time with our Father develops a deeper and richer relationship with Him and helps us in relating to others as well. Whether we are talking about family dinners or focused time with our heavenly Father, it begins with a decision, recognizing that this time is important enough in my life that I will make every effort to make it happen.
It’s easy to become content with being “lukewarm” in our spiritual lives and actions. Instead of seeing our need for Him, we try to work it out ourselves and blow through our day in our own strength. It’s interesting that Jesus addressed this very tendency in the book of Revelation. He said He would rather us be hot or cold than to be “lukewarm.” And then he added the antidote to spiritually lukewarm-ness, “I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Revelation 3:20). It’s not just an antidote; it’s an invitation. God wants us to fellowship with Him, to dine with Him and commune with Him. Our part is to listen to His voice, open the door, and spend time with Him. This is how we guard against being lukewarm, and are empowered to live a vibrant and meaningful life.
As we abide with Him, we find strength and guidance. We experience a peace that passes all understanding as we give our cares and worries to Him. We gain a new perspective on life as we thank Him and praise Him for all He has done and will do and is doing in our lives. God has wired us in such a way that we find our soul’s refreshment from our fellowship with Him. As a father has compassion on His children, so our Father has compassion on us. He welcomes us into His loving embrace each day. How can we not accept the invitation to sit at the table with Him?
This is an excerpt from Becoming a Woman of the Word