Your BEST at Mealtime

This Sunday at Liberty we will begin to answer the question, “What if we all did our BEST?”  Each week we are challenging one another to do our BEST in six key areas:
  1. Attend Sunday School.
  2. Attend worship gatherings.
  3. Attend Wednesday discipleship.
  4. Serve where I am committed, commit to serve if I am not.
  5. Tithe (10%) of my income.
  6. Have a meal with my family, including time in prayer and reading Scripture at least 2x per week.
One of the greatest challenges of our culture is finding time to spend together as a family.  Even though most everyone has a kitchen or dining room table, it has become a vacant relic, seldom used, sacrificed on the altar of quick meals on the way to the next demand on our time.  For families where both husband and wife are working, a home cooked meal is all but a thing of the past.  Not only is this lifestyle difficult on our wallet and our weight, as we are eating out more frequently, but our lack of time at the table is also taking a toll on our children and our marriages.  
In a study published by www.children.webmd.com, statistics show that the benefits of family time at the table go far beyond our physical health.  The study showed the following to be the top ten benefits of family dinners:   
  • Everyone eats healthier meals.
  • Kids are less likely to become overweight or obese.
  • Kids more likely to stay away from cigarettes.
  • They’re less likely to drink alcohol.
  • They won’t likely try marijuana.
  • They’re less likely to use illicit drugs.
  • Friends won’t likely abuse prescription drugs.
  • School grades will be better.
  • You and your kids will talk more.
  • You’ll be more likely to hear about a serious problem.
  • Kids will feel like you’re proud of them.
  • There will be less stress and tension at home.
For families who choose to follow Christ, meal time becomes even more meaningful.  It can be a time of natural discipleship and prayer.  What I mean by natural discipleship is that our discussions of Christ and applications of Scripture come more naturally at the dinner table, in the course of conversations that would occur spontaneously at the table.  
When most parents think of family discipleship or devotion they are completely intimidated.  They think of turning the living room into a church.  Dad becomes the preacher who has to somehow subdue the family with a well crafted word.  Mom’s job is to lead the choir while the kids sit by horrified by the whole experience.  WRONG!  If this is what you try to do with family devotion, your kids probably hate it and you feel as uncomfortable with it as they do.  
The model for Christian parenting is not to “carve” out time for devotion, but rather the model is to be devoted to teaching and instruction as a general course of life.  Deuteronomy 6:7 says,
You shall teach them (God’s commands) diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
When this principle is applied, devotion and discipleship happen throughout the day – a ride to school, a conversation after practice, or especially at bedtime.  In this model, family meal time becomes a natural and meaningful pause in the day for families to communicate, share, learn, and pray for one another.
Practical Ideas for Meals
While this may sound ideal, for some it may not sound practical.  For single parent families, or families in which both parents work; preparing meals is a great challenge.  Fortunately there are several online outlets that provide ideas for meals that are easy to prepare.  Here are two great examples.
Crockpot.com – meals you can put in a crock pot. 
EMeals – recipes, shopping lists, and coupons integrated into one source.
However you work your BEST mealtime.  We can at least agree, most of us can vastly improve from where we are.  How about just committing, this month, to two meals together as a family per week?  A little effort could make a big difference in our family.  

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