Sunday, June 3, 2012

Dinner Time Conversations

Nothing brings a family together like sitting around the dinner table. When I was a kid I could take off on my bike that morning, but I was to be home at 4:00 when mom would have dinner on the table. Mom, dad and I would dine on her home cooking and leave the table feeling more than full of good and tasty morsels. My heart would be completely full of smiles. It is one of my fondest memories of being home. I can remember dad walking in from work and mom placing the plates on the table. Do families even eat together any more?

I loved when all of our children were home. Dinner time was always a treat. Some families may like to eat in silence, but our family was bursting with laughter and stories about the day. There is something about the dinner table that just brings people together. There is a peace in breaking bread with another. Whether your having a cozy dinner for two or a house filled with family and friends gathered in the kitchen, you can't help but smile and feel warm inside.

I'm sure many families have great discussions at the dinner table. This makes me think of the television show, "Blue Bloods". One of my favorite scenes is when they are all gathered at the table, and discussion erupts. What is it that I love? They all seem to have different opinions. They all have reasons behind their thoughts and they don't all agree. But what happens? Sure there are times it gets heated. Sometimes one will leave the table, but they always return. They begin every dinner in prayer and they end knowing that family matters. They realize they can agree to disagree and still love one another.

I think this is something we are missing out on today. We live like we are in high school. Choosing who sits at our table. If we don't like them or don't agree with them we sure don't want to have them at our table. But just what if we invited them to dinner? What if we put all disagreement aside and simply shared a meal? Do you think this could bring about peace as we said grace together? I love the idea of holding hands and praying together.

We are never totally going to be agreement with everyone. So, should we shun the one we disagree with? Just maybe inviting them in we can begin to learn about one another through conversation. As we learn about each other we just might be able to find a common ground. We might begin to see past those very things that once separated us and find something that brings us to a place where we can realize the junk doesn't really matter. What matters is sharing the love of Christ. What matters is opening up your heart, even when it feels uncomfortable and getting to know another. You might walk away from dinner still in disagreement, but you just might find one thing you do agree on. Why can't that be a blessing?

During the last supper, Jesus gathered with His disciples, and broke bread. They had discussions and surprisingly they didn't all agree, but it was a great teaching moment and holds a lasting impact for us to learn from today. Jesus knew Judas would soon betray Him, but He still shared dinner with Him. He too knew Peter would deny Him. Not only once, but three times. Yet, here was Jesus, breaking bread with those He had prayed for and chosen to walk with Him during His ministry.

This had to be heartbreaking for Jesus. To think of all they had been through together and to have betrayal and deception right around the corner. Jesus could have very well said, " Judas and Peter, you two need to find another home that will take you in tonight. You are no longer welcome here." Jesus did the opposite. He opened up His heart. He shared and they had conversation.

We never know the impact we can have on another just by spending a little time with them. One minute, one hour, one day, can bring change to us and open our hearts to life lessons to carry us through to the next test to come in life.

We don't have to accept sin. Of course not. That would be wrong indeed. But mustn't we accept people? Shouldn't we give all people a chance? So much can happen just through discussion. I know I learn a great deal more by hushing my mouth and listening than I do by doing all the talking. Here Jesus is now showing He is not accepting what Judas and Peter are about to do, but He is saying He is making the choice to love them. Isn't that what we should do? Jesus couldn't control the actions of Judas and Peter. After all they have their own free will. But Jesus could and did control His actions. He choose to love even though He knew what was about to happen. Judas choose the wrong steps and ended his life. Peter grew to be a great missionary and continued the work of the Lord. Just what if Jesus would have asked Peter to leave the table? What if just spending those few hours dining together made an impact on Peter?

I have had some of the greatest conversations with friends while sipping coffee and having a slice of cake. I have shared my heart with others over dinner and have walked into a dinner thinking one thing and walked out with a whole new perspective after listening to another open their heart to me.

"On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal for You?"
Matthew 26:17

"When it was evening, Jesus sat down at the table with the twelve disciples. While they were eating, He said, "I will you the truth, one of you will betray Me."
Matthew 26:20-21

It was after Jesus shared that Judas would betray Him that they broke bread and shared the Lord's supper. Later after leaving and being on their way to Mount of Olives that not only Peter, but all would desert Him. Peter speaks and  shares that he would never leave Jesus. Matthew 26:31-35

Jesus knew what was about to happen, but it didn't change the fact that Jesus was willing to go all the way. He was willing to give what others would never think about giving. He showed us on this day an example of the greatest love of all. This is the kind of love I want to have. This is the love I want to share.

"Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keeping a humble attitude. Don't repay evil for evil. Don't retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and He will bless you for it."
1 Peter 3:8-9
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