As part of my job I take people to lunch and get their story. You might wonder why I don't interview them in my office. There is a huge difference in them sitting across from my desk answering questions verses us going to lunch and sharing a meal. When you share a meal you get to know someone better. While learning more about this person I can sense their passions. There are no right and wrong answers just chatting with a friend. There is something special about sharing a meal together. To share a meal with someone is more than just eating. It fosters meaningful connections.
In first century Mediterranean cultures, fellowship at the table was very significant! Being invited to a meal showed deep friendship, intimacy and unity. People tended to eat together according to their social ranking. Jews rarely dined with Gentiles but here is Jesus, extending grace to social outcasts through a meal! Luke 15: 2, "And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” The Pharisees were upset that Jesus had dinner with tax collectors, prostitutes and other sinners.
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all record a meal Jesus shared with friends. He called out to a curious invisible Zacchaeus and ate with him. He prepared breakfast for a weary Peter. He shared a meal with a desperate Mary. He welcomed robbers, cheaters and slanderers to a meal. The table brings people together. Jesus knew this togetherness would bring nourishment - both sacred and life-changing. In the 1300's, there was a spiritual hymn written, “Let Us Break Bread Together.” I have heard this phrase often because bread is a life-giving source of nourishment and it brings friendship also! The meaning of "to break bread with someone" is "to share a meaningful connection over a meal, often bringing together two people or groups who previously had reason to be disconnected."
Dining with someone may not have the significance today that it did in Jesus' time but if Jesus saw the power in sharing a meal maybe we should too. Taking the time to share a meal with someone is still a great way to extend them grace and fellowship. This gives you the chance to share the love of Christ in a way that Jesus himself found highly effective. Mother Teresa said, "There are many in the world dying for a piece of bread, but there are many more dying for a little love." Think of your relatives, coworkers, church small groups, neighbors, etc. Matthew 25: 35, "...for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;.." Breaking bread together is an opportunity for nourishment on so many levels.
Think of who you could invite into your home and break bread together.