Devotions

A Place at the Table

December 12, 2017
“For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.” Matthew 25:35 (NLT)
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After the wedding, after the honeymoon, after the cross-country move into my first home with my new husband, I found myself queuing up day after day in the Exchanges and Returns line at Bed Bath & Beyond.

I’d lug the boxes from my car and wait dutifully in line to return most of the kitchen items we’d received as wedding gifts. Though I was grateful, I really didn’t expect to use them. Except for the forks. (I’m not completely classless. Of course, we’d need a way to eat our takeout!)

After those first few months of marriage, despite my best attempts to stay out of the kitchen, I was gently informed by my husband that our budget could not support our eating-out habit. I nodded slowly, not fully in agreement, and started weighing the possibility of serving hot dogs every night for dinner. I enthusiastically presented this as an option, and my husband, with just as much vigor, shot it down.

So, we learned to cook.

Initially, I thought the best thing about learning to cook would be eating a meal at dinnertime and not spiraling into a Thai-takeout-debt hole. I could not fathom what Jesus would teach me through my journey into the kitchen and then the table.

As I was learning to cook, I started to notice in the Gospels all the times where Jesus appeared at mealtime during His time on earth.

He called out to a curious and seemingly invisible Zacchaeus and ate with him.
He prepared breakfast for a weary and broken Peter.
He shared a meal with a shamed and desperate Mary.
He welcomed the robbers, the cheaters and the slanderers to a table with a meal.

It occurred to me that if Jesus saw the power in sharing a meal, maybe we should too?

We started to invite our neighbors over for meals. And coworkers. And our church small group. It did not matter that I was still learning the difference between chopping and julienning. There was this movement happening in our small invitation to come and eat. There was this opportunity to extend the love of Jesus right from our very own homes. Right at our very own common table.

There were these words from our Savior, found in today’s key verse For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink, I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home” (Matthew 25:35).

Perhaps, before the call to go on a mission to a faraway land, there’s this call to show up to our own dining room tables? A small act to feed the people God has placed right next to us.

There’s a wild and glorious opportunity to partner with our Lord and echo His words by having this banner over our homes,

“Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!” (Isaiah 55:1a, ESV)

As we step into a time of celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, may our love for Him be present in a broken and hurting world. We don’t need fancy linens or matching china. Or picture-worthy meals. We need only to show up with what we have, and pull out a chair at our table for someone who needs to be loved.

Dear Jesus, thank You for coming to us. For not loving Your throne in Heaven more than You love us. May we truly be an outpouring of Your radical and powerful love for us. This season, may we throw open our doors and pull out the chairs of our table for a hurting and broken people. May we greatly love right where you have us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:

John 21:17c, “Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.’”(ESV)

Hebrews 13:2, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (ESV)

RELATED RESOURCES:

Come & Eat: A Celebration of Love and Grace Around the Everyday Table from author and food blogger Bri McKoy is filled with encouraging, embarrassing, heartbreaking and joyful stories from her own table. It’s an invitation for you to begin, or continue, your own journey to the table and includes over 20 weeknight meal recipes as well as questions and prayers for the table to inspire you.

CONNECT:

For even more recipes and encouragement to come to the table, visit OurSavoryLife.com, or join Bri on Instagram.

Enter to WIN a copy of Come & Eat by Bri McKoy. In celebration of this book, Thomas Nelson Publishers is giving away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We'll randomly select 5 winners and email notifications to each one, by Monday, December 18, 2017.}

REFLECT AND RESPOND:

Who is God asking you to extend an invitation to come and eat this holiday season?

© 2017 by Bri McKoy. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Thomas Nelson Publishers for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

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