As families race to activities like soccer practice, karate lessons, and piano recitals, it would seem that grabbing dinner on the go has become the norm.
Between our microwaves, instant pots, and drive-thrus, the dinner table seems to have become a thing of the past. Instead, it’s become a place to toss the mail, our coats, or even the clean towels that just came out of the dryer.
All the things we do to save time in preparing and eating our meals may come with a price. Not only could it be bad for our wallets (as well as our waistlines), but the greater cost is what we may miss by not spending time together at the table to enjoy a meal, a chance to grow and bond as a family.
That’s exactly what we offer at Pine Cove. Some of our greatest moments take place at the table. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner, meal times at Pine Cove for both the youth and family camps are a big deal. When it’s time to eat, we want all our campers to enjoy a healthy, nutritious meal. But it’s about so much more than the food.
During a week of family camp at Pine Cove, families are invited to the dining hall to experience mealtime together, at the table. That’s 17 meals mom and dad don’t have to cook over the course of a week. It’s time they can kick back and relax.
While it’s nice to have someone else prepare the meals and clean up the kitchen for a week, there’s more to mealtimes at Pine Cove than just enjoying the fruits of someone else’s labor. When campers gather around a table, something extraordinary happens.
“The dining experience at our camps is just as much a part of our ministry as the programming,” shares Ronnie Bush, Pine Cove’s Chimney Point Food Services Director. “Well before families arrive, we are praying—praying for our campers and for the table where we will all come together to enjoy our meals. Most transformations in my life have taken place at the table. I hope that as we bring families together for mealtimes at Pine Cove, they’ll experience some of their own transformations. It’s my prayer that campers will see the table as an altar, as a means of His grace, where joy is shared.”
The table was important to Jesus, too. Tables bookend His life and ministry. From the table at the wedding banquet where Jesus performed His first recorded miracle of turning water into wine to the end of His ministry, where He gathered His disciples at a table for the Passover meal, we see the value He placed on gathering at a table.
But whether we’re eating a lavishly prepared meal or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, it’s important to recognize God as our provider.
“No matter how big the chicken fried chicken is we serve at Pine Cove, it’s important to remember that we need Him,” says Ronnie. “It’s my prayer that the food we serve is more than just food, but that it reminds us of God’s glory. Now I’m not going to lie, the food at Pine Cove is awesome (okay, I might be a little biased), but food alone does not satisfy. The Bible tells us to taste and see that the Lord is good.”
There are lots of things that happen at the table besides just eating. It’s a place that brings families together. Stories get shared, conversations take place, and life happens at the table. It provides an opportunity for fellowship with friends, neighbors, and even strangers.
Families can celebrate holidays and special occasions at the table. More than just meals, sometimes it becomes a place for family game nights or a shared pot of coffee between friends. The table can also be a place where those grieving can be consoled. Tears are cried. Prayers are prayed. Hearts are mended.
When we sit at the table, it’s not just about the physical act of eating, but about sharing and enjoying life as God designed and gave it to us. Even the simplest meal can become, in some way, a feast—a lavish celebration of the living God’s life and goodness.
At the table, filled with food, surrounded by friends and family who are ready to satisfy their hunger and refresh their spirits, it is a glimpse of heaven. We challenge you to reclaim the table and start welcoming heaven into your home tonight by gathering at the table, and feast on good food and good conversation.
Editor’s note: This article was written by Michelle Brinson for the December 2018 edition of Transformed Magazine.
Posted Jan 9, 2019