As much of a social butterfly as I consider myself to be, one social situation sends my heart racing – and not from excitement. I turn into a bundle of nerves when I have to find a seat at a table, especially in a public place. What if there’s not a seat for me? What if I sit in someone else’s place? I’ve come to discover that those fears reflect some fears I didn’t realize I had about the Kingdom of God. I’ve learned though, sitting around tables across the world, that there is always room at His table. Hopefully you’ll find some encouragement in these stories shared around my table.
More Than EnoughThey all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. Matthew 14:20
The story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 with one little boy’s lunch is a story that has captivated me since I was a curly-headed kid in children’s church. I can barely imagine what a crowd of 5,000 people looks like sitting on a hillside, and trying to picture the amount of food needed to feed them is nearly impossible for me. As with a lot of the stories of miracles in the Bible, I always pictured this dinner party as something grandiose and an exciting moment, with fireworks every time the bread was broken to feed another 100 people.
Maybe miracles are like that sometimes, but maybe more often they occur without much show, like they’re just a part of our normal lives. I’m sure the disciples’ hearts jumped every time they realized they still had food left to give to one of their 5000 dinner guests, but I wonder if those people even realized what was actually happening. Scripture simply tells us they ate, they were satisfied, and then the disciples picked up the leftovers. Did they realize they were sitting in the midst of a miracle we’d still be talking about today?
I know I didn’t. On The World Race, we had a pretty strict food budget of $5 per person per day. It doesn’t sound like much, but in most places around the world it is more than enough. “Most places” doesn’t include Durban, South Africa, though. Our food budget was running low for the month, so we grabbed one box of pasta and some vegetables at the grocery store for dinner. As we cooked the food, we prayed that we’d have enough to feed the eight people around the table, even jokingly referring to our one pot of pasta as our very own “fish and loaves.”
One by one, we all filled our bowls with pasta and sat down around the table. We caught each other up on how our days had gone and we started planning the next few days out. The boys got up for seconds, and everyone else followed. As I scooped more pasta into my bowl I noticed that it didn’t look like we had even made a dent in what we had cooked, even though I knew that one box of pasta should have only fed us once.
To this day, the only thing any of us have said about that dinner was “I can’t believe we all got seconds out of that one box,” but I believe without a doubt that we were a part of a miracle that night. We just didn’t realize what was actually happening.
May God open our eyes and hearts to the miraculous as we sit around the table, sharing and living stories of His power and love today.Chelsey