There’s something about sitting together around a table full of food that invites conversation – especially with family. When our sons got married, I made a family recipe book for my new daughters. It occurred to me that many of our best memories were around meals celebrating Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays or traditions we had created for meals on Friday nights, Saturday mornings or Sunday after church. Those memories were of great joy when we were all gathered around the table.
Now the joy is magnified because the family has grown. On rare occasions when we have mealtimes together again, it is with grandchildren and all the delightful contributions they make to the conversations.
This last week was another reminder of this truth. I attended two fellowship meals with our church family here in France. There was a covered dish luncheon on Sunday after church. So much good food and time to visit with friends around the table is a great treat. On normal Sundays, people have to be out and about and visiting time is limited. On covered dish Sundays, people make an effort to stick around, visit and enjoy a meal together.On Tuesdy, our ladies Bible study group got together at a member’s lovely home for lunch. Again, there was time to discover more information about my sisters in Christ. People I had grown to love I love even more because I know them better now – they shared their testimonies and experiences with the Lord. It was truly a joyful time.
Jesus had similar experiences. He never was in a hurry, but it was at mealtimes we see him having the luxury of sharing life with those He loved. He spent time in fellowship and meals with His friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Those were times of rest and restoration for Him, just as times of food and fellowship with family are for us.
There was one very special meal where Jesus was able to have a time of very needed fellowship. It was just before His betrayal and crucifixion. In the upper room, after Judas left, Jesus had an opportunity to share some special revelations of Himself to eleven of His closest friends. He had come so they might be adopted into His family. As He left His brothers with incredible words of encouragement and promise, He told them that His intended purpose for doing so was that they might share in His joy.
Food, fellowship and family are perfect settings for experiences of joy.
These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full (John 15:11). But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves (John 17:13).