Bring Back the Dinner Table


“Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another.” 1 Peter 4:8a NAS

Ask any of my kids about their dad’s recipe for lemon pepper gravy and it will bring back an unforgettable memory…

One evening Grant decided to cook a big “sit-down” meal consisting of chicken fried chicken with all the trimmings. When it came time to season the gravy, there was no pepper, so he used the closest substitute – Lemon Pepper (and a lot of it). The smell of the meal had everyone salivating and we couldn’t get our plates filled quick enough. Mashed potatoes and gravy were a family favorite and Grant had cooked enough for an army. After a short prayer of thanks, we dove in like a pack of starving wolves.

This meal would have made Erma Bombeck feel right at home. Where she grew up, gravy was considered a beverage. Only this beverage had something seriously wrong with it. I remember looking around the table as I struggled to swallow my first bite. Was it as bad as I thought, or was it just me? The answer came quickly – my four gagging children began spitting their food back on the plates. It was worse than awful. It was disgusting! Grant felt so bad. The Lemon Pepper ruined the gravy which was covering everything else…we left it all on the table, packed up in the Suburban and headed for the nearest restaurant. After we’d had a chance to wash the taste from our mouths with decent food, we had quite a laugh. From that day on, Lemon Pepper has been banned from the Rutledge kitchen.

In today’s busy lives, parents find themselves spending hours in the car chauffeuring between spots, school, work, dancing lessons, PTA meetings, church…the list is endless. Drive-through fast food has become the simplest meal of choice to accommodate over-crowded schedules.


Put your foot on the breaks and STOP! For at least a few minutes every day, bring your family together to reconnect. Turn the TV and all electronic devices off. Don’t answer the phone. Sit down face to face and learn to enjoy one another’s company. Sharing a family meal daily isn’t about what you eat…it’s about the fellowship and bonding that occurs in the process. When you place a high enough priority on family meal-time to make it happen, it sends the message to your entire family…they are important…and they are loved.

Prayer: God, busyness has become a lifestyle for me. Help me to prioritize my life so family comes first. I don’t want to come to the end of my life and realize I don’t really “know” the children I gave birth to. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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