SETTING A DEVOTIONAL TABLE
J. Grant Swank, Jr.
When growing up in a Christian home, we enjoyed delicious meals prepared by a caring cook—Mom! We also started every meal with prayer offered by a caring overseer—Dad!
There were two of us children—my sister two years younger and myself. Then when I was 17, my mother at age 43 gave birth to twins! They enjoyed the same family table that my sister and I sat down to before they were born.
One treat that we almost took for granted with the daily bread provided by the Lord Himself. It was there because my father, the spiritual head of the household, saw to it. Of course, my mother willingly supported his lead.
That daily bread was found in a devotional box filled with small cards. On each card was inscribed a Scripture verse on the one side and four lined poem on the other side. Before any of us left the table following the meal, we each read from a card. Then we would go around the table, each praying a short prayer. Or my father or mother would pray a single prayer. These prayers were always followed by all of us petitioning aloud The Lord’s Prayer.
As a youngster, I thought that every home in our neighborhood had such a welcoming table. It was not until I began to eat in my friends’ homes that I realized that our house was quite special—it served up not only food from the store but also the Lord’s daily bread.
When I got older and visited with Christian friends, I discovered that many of them had a devotional table. I recall particularly Ollie and Alice Wirth. They lived in various communities for they were in the pastorate and moved about from church to church. But whatever parsonage we visited them, there was the devotional table.
However, instead of the devotional cards in a box, they had a daily devotional booklet—small and compact, easy to read and full of spiritual truths. Therefore, at the close of our meals together, Ollie would lift the small book from the side of the table and proceed to read its devotional page for that day. Alice would site the Scripture passages from the Bible. Then we would bow our heads in prayer together.
Home after home my wife and I were privileged to come upon such a spiritual refreshment. Our friends knew the value of the devotional table. Therefore, when we married, we had the devotional table as well. Our children have grown up with that blessing. May their children know that spiritual inspiration as well. We have done our part since they have become married in that we have given them the devotional boxes. I think they treasure those gifts with a special honor.
I have often thought if today’s American homes furnished not only the kitchen and dining room with our culture’s delicious foods but also the Lord’s daily bread, we would experience quite a difference in much of our family doings. God’s graces would be more evident because we remembered not only to place nourishing dishes on our tables but more importantly the Bread from above.