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.
There’s Always RoomAll that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. John 6:37
In my family each of us has his or her own seat at the table. I know where I’m sitting for every meal, and I know when someone is in the wrong spot. A lot of my close friends are creatures of habit and are the same way in the coffee shops and restaurants we frequent.
The one and only place where I have seen even my most OCD friends give up the need for a consistent seat was in the student center at our university. When we showed up to campus in the mornings for our first classes, we’d stay on campus until our final class let out in the afternoon. In the awkward in-between times after one class and before another, we’d gather around a table in the student center.
Soon more people started pulling up chairs with us. We’d crowd eight people around a four person table most days, some of us eating lunch while others reviewed notes one last time for their next tests. More people showed up, more chairs were added. We slid tables together and expanded our four person table into a seemingly endless table of 15-20 people. No one had a specific seat, and it wasn’t rare to see friends giving up their seats for someone else. No matter what, no matter who showed up, there was always room for one more.
That table with its always open seat calmed the anxieties I used to feel whenever it was time for me to find a place at a table. I learned there was always room. Even more importantly, that table in the student center taught me about the heart of Christ.
The heart of Christ is reflected when we create space for someone to feel seen and heard and loved. Offering someone a place at our table instead of pushing them out reflects love and acceptance—the same that Christ offers us.
My friends at that table in the student center had 15 different schedules, 15 different majors, and a whole catalog of different interests. Some stayed at the table longer than others, but no matter the differences, the love of Christ met us there as we met together.
Who are you inviting to your table? Who are you making room for?