People today invest money in their beds, their mattresses, their bathrooms, their TVs, and sound system. But the Christian’s most important piece of furniture is his table. Even Jesus has one (see 1 Cor 10:21)! A table is where we eat with Christian brothers and sisters and with our neighbours. It’s a place where we’re forced to look at each other, listen to each other, and talk to each other. It, therefore, plays a very important part in Christians letting their light shine before others (Matt 5:16).
Rosaria Butterfield’s written a fascinating book on hospitality. Some of it won’t apply so well to life in the UK, and, to be honest, her example is a bit exhausting, but here’s an excerpt:
“I prepare for daily hospitality in our home and at our table. If for some odd reason, we are the only ones there, then I have food to freeze. No big problem. In regular and daily ways, by dinnertime, our house is usually filled with a friend or two from church, a friend or two from the neighbourhood, and a group of children. We have gathered together enough times that as new people join us, we can all make them feel welcome.
In our house, and in the Bible, people take on the roles and responsibilities of both host and guest. Our routine of daily hospitality means that my children have plenty of examples of Christian living – including the important example set by vital, vibrant Christian adults who are single. Our routine means that our children watch adults they respect struggle with big issues before the Lord. This makes their own personal struggles less frightening. In our house it is normal to struggle with sin and to do openly. Repentance is a Christian fruit, not a social shame”.
If we want to break down barriers in church and in Ilford, your table is a key piece of equipment. A good question to think and pray about is: “Who could I invite around my table to show God’s love?”. Or “How can I help someone else in church use their table to show God’s love?”.
– Don’t just invite your pals. Luke 14:12-13 – “invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind”.
– Don’t think you have to serve up something impressive – Matthew 10:42 “even a cup of cold water” or a piece of toast can count!
Let’s put our tables to work in Ilford!