“Pull up a chair. There’s plenty of room.” A place at the table makes us feel included and affirmed. Sitting down together around a table is a simple everyday occurrence, yet it has profound impact on our lives. So much happens when we share a meal. We strengthen relationships, build trust, and warm hearts. Tables are important.
The significance of the table is apparent throughout Scripture. God’s people gathered in fellowship. The Israelites celebrated deliverance and restoration with feasts of gratitude. In 2 Samuel, King David, understanding the gift of inclusiveness, assured Jonathan’s son, “You will always eat at my table.” David, himself, expressed his gratitude to God for divine protection, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” (Ps 23)
In his Gospel, Luke wrote about tables, recording that the Pharisees complained that Jesus “welcomes sinners and eats with them.” They knew he had eaten with Zaccheus the tax collector and Simon the leper. Jesus was all about encountering people just as they were. He intentionally lived in community, just as we should. In Luke’s account of the Prodigal Son, the young man was welcomed home with forgiveness and jubilation. The father exclaimed, “We’re going to have a feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time!” (Luke 15:23 MSG)
So, we learn from these stories that we are to set the extra plate and invite those outside our circle of friends. We should make our table a place of refuge where we offer love and grace and encouragement. We need to take time to connect, have a conversation, laugh out loud!
Our kitchen table is scarred and scratched, reminders of time spent together sharing meals, helping with homework, talking about our day. It represents much more than learning which fork to use or being reminded to keep our elbows off the table. Some of our fondest memories were made around the table. Our extended family get-togethers always included good food, retold (and retold!) stories and lots of laughter. Many friendships have been formed, nurtured and renewed around the table.
Whether eating with family or friends, be sure to make mealtime special. Celebrate accomplishments and milestones. Pay attention to one another. Put down those cell phones and turn off the TV! Spend time at the table. Always gather in gratitude, thanking God for His provision. Even little children can say grace. We still laugh about our young cousin’s prayer, “Bless this food but not the squash. It’s my worst-est enemy!"
Jesus made sure to spend some of His final hours around a table as He prepared the Disciples for the difficult days ahead. Although they did not fully understand the instructions they received at the Last Supper, they later would realize the impact of His obedient sacrifice. As we observe the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper, we must always reflect on the Truth that the Lamb of God was willing to die for us.
Now, the Risen Savior has prepared a table for us. In Revelation 19, the angel announces a new Beatitude, “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” We are assured of gathering with fellow believers, the redeemed children of God, to celebrate spending eternity in His Glory. We are to come to the table.
“Come to the Table”
(song by Sidewalk Prophets)
He said come to the table.
Come join the sinners who have been redeemed.
Take your place beside the Savior.
Sit down and be set free.
Come to the table. He is saving you a place!
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