We completed chapter 4 in our “Home Experience” study with Devi Titus. In this chapter Devi talks about how the typical family no longer eats meals together at the table. Parents sometimes get home late and are tired after working long hours and fighting traffic. Children are often left to feed themselves. Many families frequently resort to fast food in the car as a quick solution to their hunger pains. If family members are home at the same time, they often eat while watching television, reading the newspaper, or doing homework.
The Table Principle shows us the dramatic impact that simply sharing a meal can have on the most important people in our lives. Our families will reap the rewards of choosing to adjust our busy lifestyles in order to join with those we love around our table. Time at the table satisfies a cry of the human heart because a lovingly prepared table is a place where the presence of God dwells and individual relationships are established.
God gave instructions for the creation of the first table and there are many scriptures that talk about the importance of inviting people to our tables. Some of those scriptures are 2 Samuel 9:7, II Kings 25:29, and Luke 15:23 are just a few. Exodus 25:29-30 God instructed Moses to “Put the bread of the presence on this table to be before me at all times.” In the New Testament Jesus referred to himself as the Bread of Life. (John 6:48) When family and friends gather around a prepared table, there is a supernatural presence that penetrates and strengthens relationships. The Presence at the table is Jesus- the Bread of Life. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20
Researchers speak of a common factor that has undermined the well-being of our young people. The mission element in our families is that our lifestyles no longer make room for eating meals together regularly.
The American Psychological Association published a study that illustrated the crucial role of the family meal in the lives of teenagers. The study found that adjusted teens- those with better relationships with their peers, more academic motivation, and few, if any, problems with drugs and depression- ate dinner with their families an average of five days a week.
Devi remembers her dad asking them to all pray audibly together before each meal. She said it was loud and messy but so very special. Each person took responsibility for coming before the Lord and thanking Him for their blessings. She talked about a year of her life when she was lying to her parents and sneaking around behind their backs. She said that she found herself making every excuse to not have dinner around their family dining table during that year. She said that as she sat across from her parents during dinner, it felt like they could see into her soul and she could no longer hide from the truths of her life at that time. Once the family prays together and then spends an hour or so looking into one another’s eyes over dinner, it creates an atmosphere of openness and love that makes hiding things from one another more difficult.
She recommends returning to regular meals at the table and involving the entire family in preparing the meal, setting the table, and cleaning up afterwards.