When we gather around a table for a meal, we all share one thing in common: we were invited. Take a moment to think about that. Those who are sitting at your dinner table all received an invitation. The guests were thought about and asked to join the hostess for a meal.
As the mama and her son prepared the meal together moments before, the mama asks her little one to gather the others. The little one seeks and finds his family members from various corners of the house and he says to them, “Mama says, come to dinner! But make sure you wash up, first!”
The toys are dropped mid-build, the bookmark is reluctantly placed in the book being read, and the bathroom sink is gathering household members swiftly to wash away the positive consequences of fun had throughout the afternoon.
One of the children comes in from playing outside and asks if his friend, Caleb, can join the family for dinner. Mama cheerfully says, “Yes. Please invite Caleb to dinner, but make sure he asks his mama first.”
Everyone gathers together around the table as they wait for the two other guests to return from seeking permission to attend the family dinner. After a reminder to wash hands to the latecomers, all are seated and settled.
The savory smell of the dinner so gently placed on the table fills the room. There is a warmth in the air as those who have gathered around the table exchange smiles. A little hand reaches for a hot biscuit that just came from a Pillsbury can just 12 minutes before. The mama opens one eye during the prayer to gently place her little one’s hand back in his lap until prayer time is finished. The “Amen” is said and the delight of the meal has begun.
When I ask others to come to the table, it is an exclusive invitation just for them. Sometimes the invitation is yelled up the stairs to those who are playing in bedrooms. Sometimes, it’s quietly said with a kiss on the cheek to my husband as he finishes up one last thing for work. As people fill the seats, they can all delight together that they are an invited guest to my dining table.
The invitation says, “You have a place here. You matter. I’m glad you are here.”
The thing about tables is that there is a specific seat for each guest. When one guest leaves to use the restroom, there is an empty spot, a hole, where that person was. The entire group feels there is something missing until that person returns to his seat.
The dining room table brings people together from all walks of life. It is the one place where we all share something in common; we were invited. There is something special and unique about us that caused us to be invited. As guests at my table, I want people to feel absolutely cherished and loved by me. I want those who sit at our table to be served and cared for.
Each time I serve and love others, it’s a canvas for displaying God’s love through me. It’s a chance to orchestrate connections at my table, witnessing firsthand how uniquely alike we are, crafted by God’s hand. In those similarities lies His blessing, fostering human bonds and closeness. It’s a reminder of how deeply God desires closeness with each of us.
I remember a story about a woman who invited two enemy groups to sit at her dining table during World War 2.
In 1944, in a snowy forest during a big war, a boy named Fritz and his mom, Elisabeth, lived in a little cabin. They were sad because Fritz’s dad was away in the war. One night, soldiers knocked on their door: first Americans, then Germans. Even though they were enemies, Elisabeth invited them in.
Elisabeth’s kindness made the soldiers friends. They shared food and stories, and everyone felt grateful. When morning came, the soldiers left and safely went their own way, but they remembered Elisabeth’s kindness. Her bravery showed that even in hard times, people can come together.
Years later, people remembered this story of kindness and friendship during a tough time.