“But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw [Jesus] eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, ‘Why does he eat with such scum?’" — Luke 2:16
In our busy, nonstop world, sitting down to eat a meal with others often seems like a luxury. Or maybe to some it’s more of a distraction, a waste of time that could be spent doing more important things. We’ve become so accustomed to eating alone or eating rushed meals on the go. When was the last time you actually got to sit down and enjoy a meal? When was the last time you had a dinner where there was more talking than eating?
In Jesus’ day, sharing a meal was important. It was a time for building relationships and trust. If you ate a meal with someone, it signaled that you considered them a friend. So when Jesus decided to eat with notorious “sinners,” the religious people of the day were appalled. How could he eat with these people? Didn’t he realize how bad they were?
Jesus didn’t care. He knew exactly what he was doing. He ate with the outcasts and sinners because he wanted to spend time with them, to love them. Sharing a meal let those people know that Jesus cared about them. We have forgotten the power of eating with others – we simply don’t have time for it. This is not a virtue of our culture, it is a flaw. We look at our busyness with pride, but we are missing so much.
Make the time to eat with others. Make a meal with family and friends the most important time of your week, and see what God does.
Sharing a meal is a great way to build community.
- Are you intentional about eating with others?
- Who can you share a meal with this week?