Jesus did many things with tables. He reclined at the table. He ate at the table. He taught spiritual lessons from the table. He even offered table etiquette lessons about not choosing the best seat at the table. He told us the best people to invite to our tables are those who cannot invite us back. He prepared tables; He prayed at the table. He sat at tables with people He loved and who loved Him back. He accepted invitations to the table with those who wanted to trick Him and Judas, who betrayed Him. He served at the table, and He even turned over tables. Tables are mentioned often in the gospels.
How will you be like Jesus when it comes to your Thanksgiving table?
Will you prepare a table for guests to gather? What will you bring to the table? How will you serve at your table? Who will you include at your table? Will you be sitting with people who judge and reject you? Will you focus on the guests who seem to have their lives all together, or will you point out the virtue of the ones who the world judges as unworthy at your table?
Is this Thanksgiving a year of turning over a table? Are there reasons that you can’t be with family? Will you be missing someone at your Thanksgiving Table? Is it too difficult to have a traditional Thanksgiving table? Do you need to start a new tradition? Do you need to serve a ministry on Thanksgiving that you will support all year long?
The table is a powerful place. Whatever the situation of your Thanksgiving table, Jesus has set an example for you to follow.
We can look to Jesus to understand the power of tables. He was sitting at a table with some Pharisees when a sinful woman interrupted and anointed His feet (Luke 7:36-50). Jesus used this interruption to teach His host about the power of forgiveness for those who recognize that they are sinners. Jesus didn’t see her as a sinner; He saw her as a woman who has been forgiven much and loved much. He used her actions as a challenge to the Pharisee at whose table He sat. He compared her many virtuous actions to his complacency at being a table host.
Thanksgiving tables are great places to imagine what it might be like at the ultimate table—the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. Whether you are sitting at a table or preparing the table, use the Thanksgiving table to consider all the preparation that God is going through to create a place for us at His table. Most of all, don’t forget to RSVP to God’s invitation to this table. Jesus told the Parable of the Great Feast to reveal that many are not considering this most important table and its relevance to all our lives. Luke 7:15-24:
The Parable of the Great Banquet
15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”
16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’
18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’
19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’
20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’
22 “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’
23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”
I hope to see you at that table.