Breaking Bread

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:14-25

Recently, my office moved to another location and joined with another department. It has been a difficult transition. The previous tenants had been laid off, leaving only 12 employees in the building. It had been a sad and challenging transition for everyone involved. Now my department and 10 others were coming to take over the building and move into offices that had belonged to co-workers. The building had been closed except for one corner for over three months. Moving in made us feel awkward. The team left behind suddenly was surrounded by new people, a sea of new faces. I can imagine that this was stressful on the team seeing new people in old colleague’s offices and cubicles. There was a palatable discomfort throughout the building.  

One team member from the new tenants called a little meeting and invited the team that we had moved in on. Her proposal, a potluck for the entire building. It was well-received. 

On an ordinary Tuesday, the entire building came together to break bread. The front office was filled with voices and laughter. A cornucopia of food lined the tables along the wall filling the office building with a mouthwatering aroma.  

It was amazing to see how sitting down to a meal, and talking to one another removed the fog of tension. That one person that stepped forward and made the gesture to pull everyone together at a table has made a difference to not just one or two but a whole community. An office is a community, each department bringing their expertise, knowledge, ideas, and thoughts to achieve a common goal. 

Throughout the Bible, we see examples where food and the dinner table have been the center of forming relationships, enjoyment, and communication. In the biblical book of Luke, there are ten references to Jesus and meals. I am going to look at three of those meals.

Jesus dined with enemies. No one was considered an enemy more than the tax collectors, yet Jesus ate with them and invited one to join with him and the disciples. (Luke 5:27-32) That would be like you or me having lunch with a local loan shark.

Jesus welcomed the unwelcomed (Luke 7:36-50) While in a “business meeting” with Simon the Pharisee, an uninvited guest showed up. (enter stage left the “sinful woman” 7:37) Jesus stopped the conversation to receive the woman. He knew her heart, she was seeking forgiveness. Simon was aghast. However, Jesus always stopped and ministered to those he encountered. Schedules and etiquette did not stand in his way.

Jesus used the simple meal to put the disciples and the men from Emmaus at ease. When the men that Jesus met on the road to Emmaus got back to the disciples to tell them that they had seen a ghost, Jesus appeared. (That was a room filled with confusion and fear) They had seen Jesus die on the cross, yet here he stood. What better way to prove he was real and not a ghost than to sit down and eat. But it was much more than just proof, he set them at ease by doing something they had done together for years, share meals. (Luke 24:36-43)

Though these stories have specific lessons to be learned, Jesus shared his meals chiefly to enjoy the fellowship. By spending time at the table, relationships were formed, walls were broken down, and communication was opened. 

Typist for Jesus

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