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A Place at the Table: Taste and See

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.

 

Taste and See

“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”
Psalm 34:8

FridayI once heard a story about a man who decided to take a cruise. He packed some cheese and crackers and boarded the boat, excited to take to the open sea. Every night as the other guests enjoyed the extravagant dinners the crew made for them, the man would sit in the corner and eat his cheese and crackers. When someone finally noticed him, he asked why he wouldn’t join them in the dining room. The man explained that he’d only enough to pay for the ticket and couldn’t afford the fancy meals they all enjoyed together. His fellow traveler laughed and said, “Your meals have been paid for as a part of your ticket!”

I wonder how many of us are sitting in the corner eating cheese and crackers without realizing the abundance that has been provided for us already. Jesus’s sacrifice paid our way to heaven, but do we realize the depth of what has been paid?

We have received an ultimate promise of eternity, but eternity begins now. We don’t have to wait to experience the eternal fountain of joy and life abundant – it is ours now. A banquet complete with joy, forgiveness, restoration and more is waiting for us at the table of God. A name placard reserves our spot, and too often we sit in the corner eating the cheese and crackers of worry, anxiety and fear. Take your place at the table of the Lord – taste and see that He is good! Invite others to do the same, because at the table of God, there is always room for one more chair.

Chelsey

A Place at the Table: There’s Always Room

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 Room

All 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

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetIn 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?

Chelsey

A Place at the Table: More Than Enough

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 Enough

They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
Matthew 14:20

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetThe 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