The tables we sit at will involve some of the most important decisions of our lives. So where are you sitting?
Are you sitting at tables that enhance you? Or are you sitting at tables that do nothing for you? Are you at tables conversing with those who may want to help you, or harm you? Are you dining with those who plot evil, or speak life? If you are unsure of yourself, or your placement, it is most likely time to gather your thoughts and figure out your positioning. That custom made place that is dedicated just for you at the very best of tables, really does exist. Your destined spot, your reservation, is awaiting your arrival.
For the longest time I have associated tables with some of the worst times of my life. Sometimes it wasn’t about the people seated at my table, but the dark places those tables were located. At other times I have been seated at the best of tables, only to be with the worst kind of people. It took me a long time to learn to get up and leave certain tables behind. I had to learn that I wasn’t glued to any of the seats that I thought I was assigned to, whether by other people or myself. I learned that I could break the chains of an old bar stool just as easily as I could untie the ropes at a business conference table. I have literally walked away from both, and I am living my best life because I left tables that were not meant for me, and decided to sit down at the ones that were. Trust me when I tell you that you can do it to. I’m nobody special. But I am loved by somebody who is.
““Truly I tell you, a servant is not greater than his master, and a messenger is not greater than the one who sent him.”
John 13:16 CSB
I have sat at bar tables with misfits just like me, smiling through lackadaisical cigarette smoke swirling through the air, listening to an outpouring of music from an old jukebox, that old whiskey-gospel playing in the background. At times I’ve felt more welcome there than at many of the church tables I have EVER gathered at. I have been included, loved on, and even prayed over in dim and questionable places, under the influence, with other sinners just like me. Do you know that as I had tipsy discussions of God, or even whispered half-hearted, inebriated prayers for safety and better days ahead, that Jesus was there at my table too? He was seated right among us, those despicable sinners, loving, and not condemning. Watching and patiently waiting. I sensed Him close to me in my despair and also in my joy. I have felt Him just as much, and if not more, in some of the most disreputable locations verses places that actually describe themselves as being holy.
That might offend some people. Maybe it upsets those who wouldn’t step foot in some of the places or situations I’ve been in. Honestly, I don’t really care. I’m just here to tell you that your position at your tables in no way defines who you are through my eyes, and much more importantly, I know that it doesn’t define who you really are or who you are meant to be, in the eyes of Christ.
The head of a boardroom table lined with CEO’s has nothing on the guy sitting around a table dining at a soup kitchen for the homeless. His head bowed gratefully for a simple meal, a prayer on his lips for a change, and a sliver of hope in his hungry eyes. The fancy suits at that business lunch in an upscale establishment have nothing on that intoxicated girl sitting at a table at your local bar, the one with silent tears that slip randomly down her face, the girl with her hands desperately clutching her drink. Jesus watches over her while she’s literally surrounded by predators as she’s trying to drink her pain away, silently begging for strength.
Your status and your spot in this world mean absolutely NOTHING, unless you use what was given to you to help others. This world may say that you are on top, and that you are first, and you may even think that your acts have placed you where you are, but if you believe those lies you may need more help than those you recklessly deem as inferior.
“Note this: Some who are last will be first, and some who are first will be last.””
Luke 13:30 CSB
When I was younger, as a child, I moved around a lot. I would often attend many different schools in a single year. It was hard for an awkward, shy girl like me. Maybe things would have been a little different with some stability, I’ll never really know, but I do know one of the hardest things I can remember about those times so long ago was lunch time. I dreaded lunch tables, I even had bad dreams about them.
As the new girl in a new school, finding a table to sit at was full of anxiety. Gut twisting nervousness. Walking into that noisy cafeteria, pretending not to notice people falling silent as I walked along, other kids staring as I carried my food by. Scanning a room full of other children in their accustomed spots, my hands shaking, praying I wouldn’t drop my tray or embarrass myself, hoping beyond wild hope that someone would say those magical little words, “Come sit with me.” Sometimes that would actually happen, but at other times I just sat where I could, in the least conspicuous of places, at the emptiest of tables, hoping nobody would notice me or ever call out that I was in the wrong spot, or maybe say that I had taken their seat. Eventually, if my family stayed in town long enough, I would gradually begin to move up in status and confidence, but found myself gravitating more and more to the tables of the misfits. Sitting with the awkward, the lowly, the humble. Sitting with the people who would openly accept all, but were often themselves accepted by few. They were my people. Little did I know that they would teach me more about the love of Jesus than sitting at the tables of this world’s elite could ever show me.
Thank you God for my awkward lunches, the lonely ones, the hungry ones I just skipped so I didn’t have to deal with it. Thank you for teaching me to always include, to always invite, to look for the lonely or the hurting, and the scared. Thank you for the old bar stools, the nights of despair, and tables of so called friends who talked hurtful things about me the minute I left. Thank you for people who looked down on me, who looked past me, who looked right through me, when I was hurting or needed help, because you taught me not to do the same. Thank you for business meetings at fancy tables in board rooms that have taught me that the the one considered the most important person is often in need of more sympathy and mercy than the least. Because of You, I have met the most interesting, beautiful, amazing humans. I have made friends and even family. I have left enemies and bad habits behind. I thank you for all the tables that have made me, me. But most of all God, I am so thankful to you for the table You have personally invited me to. The most important table of all, this table of love, of freedom and of hope and safety. A place to belong with you forever. You have so many seats, and you have taught me how important it is to invite those who don’t know where to sit, to come and sit with me and ultimately you. You have taught me to recognize the heart inside, and the importance of grace and a welcoming heart. Thank you for all of my tables, then, now and tomorrow too. Thank you for all that you do. ~Amen~
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”
Psalms 23:5 CSB
There have been many types of tables in my life. I have been welcomed at some and not welcomed at others, I have been served and been the one serving. I have been the topic of conversation when I have left and I have turned the tables on people that least expected it. After all of this, the one thing I have learned is that the most important placements, at the most important tables, are often in places you least expect, among the broken, the misfits, and the humble of heart. This is where God’s work is really done, and where He really changes lives forever.
So again, where are you sitting? Is it time for you to move to a better table? You are most welcome at the best table, because there is a spot saved just for you. You have a place at God’s table, and anyone who ever tries to tell you otherwise needs more help than you do, I promise. Pray for them, and take the seat that belongs to you, without doubt and with a joyful heart. Come sit with me, my friend. Come and see how good it is! My table and my heart are always open, because I have the very best of teachers.
“Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.””
Matthew 9:13 CSB
(Dedicated with love to Marcia S.)
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“I tell you, in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who don’t need repentance.”
Luke 15:7 CSB
“Blessed will be those servants the master finds alert when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will get ready, have them recline at the table, then come and serve them.”
Luke 12:37 CSB
“While he was reclining at the table in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who were following him.”
Mark 2:15 CSB
“You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot share in the Lord’s table and the table of demons.”
1 Corinthians 10:21 CSB
“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation.”
Romans 12:16 CSB
“How happy is the one who does not walk in the advice of the wicked or stand in the pathway with sinners or sit in the company of mockers!”
Psalms 1:1 CSB
“Better to be lowly of spirit with the humble than to divide plunder with the proud.”
Proverbs 16:19 CSB
“The greatest among you will be your servant.”
Matthew 23:11 CSB