Chester, Tim. A Meal with Jesus: Discovering Grace, Community, & Mission Around the Table. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2011. 144 pp. $14.99. Purchase at Westminster for $10.04.
Tim Chester is becoming the John Piper of the next generation insofar as the output of books are concerned. He has written and published more than fifteen different works since 2002. You can view and/or purchase most of them here. I have reviewed a few of them here. For those who do not know, Tim is co-director of Porterbrook Network.
Using Luke 7:34 as a springboard, Tim delves into the use of enjoying a meal with friends and family as a means to live a gospel-centered life. The entire book is rooted in the gospel of Luke with each of the six chapters finding their genesis in six different chapters in the gospel.
Every chapter looks at a specific “Meals as enacted…” Chapter one is grace–Luke 5. Luke 7 (chapter two) offers a perspective on meals as community. Chester finishes with a look at hope, mission, salvation and promise. Each chapter challenges and exhorts the reader to open up his house and dining table in order to be a blessing to others. More importantly, one can share the Bread of Life over a meal that would otherwise be ordinary.
After reading A Meal with Jesus you will never view breakfast, lunch, or dinner the same. Tim expertly shows how we oftentimes use meal time as a means of denying Christ. He offers keen insight and vivid real-life stories to show how we can redeem our meal time for His glory. We hear how we should “gather ’round the good stuff” but then wonder why we never seem to be able to do just that. Chester shows what is lacking and how we can finally have a meaningful meal.
Perhaps the greatest exhortation is not found in the necessity of sharing your table with others (Christian and non-Christian) but more importantly, with your own family. A disturbing statistic in the book was the reality of how few families partake of a meal together and those that do usually do so with a television on. A Meal with Jesus will challenge you to communicate about life and Life with everyone who should gather at your table.
Read this book. I believe the Holy Spirit can use the message contained within to begin a revival within each home if the principles were actually put into practice. Imagine the ability to share and spread the gospel message while also dining together. Pastor, you would do well to read this book and then, if the Spirit moves, to begin to change the culture within your local congregation.