This post is not what you might think. Let’s start by getting the obvious out of the way. I’m not going to ask you to start meal planning because it saves you money or because it’s healthier for you. While those are great benefits of meal planning, that’s not why I think you should start. This post is about how you can help and encourage others with an act as simple as making dinner. Keep reading for three unconventional reasons why you should start meal planning today.

1. Family dinners are still the best way to connect.

Everyday my family eats dinner together at our kitchen table. The five of us sit down and share something that happened that day. This sounds very simple, but it takes commitment and sometimes sacrifice. During dinner no cell phones are allowed and we turn off the television. I can’t tell you how many times my kids have shared something from the heart during our family dinners. We’ve talked about how to handle bullies, peer pressure, and of course football. It’s so much easier to skip family dinners when you pick up something from the nearest drive thru. I know we all have very busy lives, but take the time to set this example for your children. So much can be shared and learned when we gather together around the family table. Family dinner might look totally different in your home than it does in mine and that’s ok. Create a lasting tradition that works for you. Maybe you do family dinners on Sunday with your parents. Family dinner doesn’t even have to be dinner. If breakfast works better for your family that’s great too. Find what works for you and do it consistently. Don’t get bogged down in the details. It’s just fine if dinner is hot dogs and chips. Ten years from now no one will remember the food, but they will remember the time you spent together as a family.

2. Share With Those That Are In Need.

When you meal plan you are able to see that you have more than you need. One of my favorite dishes to make is paella. It’s a great recipe but it’s not something that I make often. It takes a lot of time and it’s so much food! I know that my recipe serves at least 6-8 people. When I do make it, I try to invite someone over to join us. We all know someone, right now, that is in need of friendship. Romans 12:13 tells us to share with those who are in need and to practice hospitality. Plan you dinners this week and when you do ask God to show you how your home can be used for his purpose.

3. We All Need Community.

Remember last Memorial Day when your neighbor told you how much she loves your stuffed pasta shells? Why not make them and invite her over for dinner? Don’t allow yourself to miss out on the simple everyday things you can do to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Life is meant to be shared and I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and grow your tribe.

Now I want to prepare you for what happens next. When you intentionally choose to serve others distractions will pop up to deter you from what you have set out to do. They may look and sound something like this.

The house isn’t clean…

I’m not a good enough cook…

I don’t know them well enough to invite them over…

This is exactly why I want you to meal plan. Meal planning helps you to foster a spirit of hospitality in your home.  Start planning your meals this week! Ask God how you can share your table with someone that is in need of a friend. Start a family tradition of eating dinner together. Practice hospitality and watch what God is able to do for others through your obedience.