A Place at the Table

Like most of us, during this unusual time, I have been doing a lot of reflecting. I’ve tried to be faithful to the guidelines which means that I have spent very little time with family gatherings. As a result, I have found myself thinking about my younger days and what it was like to be part of a large family.

This was in the days before fast food and drive through windows. Yes, they had invented the automobile, telephone and electricity. I do not mean to imply that I am ancient. However, it was more than a half century ago. In those days, family meals were shared around the table instead of in the car on the way to some destination. Being one of six children growing up on a farm, meals for us usually meant the food was served family style complete with mama’s perfect homemade biscuits. It also meant that everyone sat in a designated seat which was always the same.

As the years went by, things began to change. My oldest sister graduated from high school and went off to college. Mama told us to shift around to make more room and one of us could sit in Linda’s place. You see, whoever was sitting there didn’t really matter because it was still Linda’s place. Even when she was not there, we still remembered it was her place and it awaited her return. Whenever she came home, we all went back to the designated seating again.

Over time, I discovered something. What happened with Linda happened with other members of the family. When it came my time to leave home, I was comforted by the fact that my place at the table awaited my return. It meant a lot to me to know that, regardless of where I was in the world or how out of place I felt, there was a place called home and there was a place at the table for me.

Jesus told a great parable of a young man for whom this was a reality. He had traveled to a far country, wasted his inheritance and fallen on hard times. He had no one to blame but himself. He finally remembered that even the servants had a place in his father’s house. Deciding to return home, he arose from his desperate surroundings and returned home. When he arrived, his father rejoiced and threw a party.

You can find this story in Luke 15 in the Bible and there is much more to it than I have shared. For the moment however, consider what it would be like to feel that you have no place to belong. Life can get that way sometimes. In such moments, it is good to know that there is a place at the table for us. Jesus said in Matthew 11, “Come unto me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” In this season of Covid, are you needing rest? What would change in your life if you realized that there is a place at the table for you? Knowing that God has a place at the table for each of us is a wonderful thing. Now that you know, what are you going to do about it? What will be different in your life from this point forward? Your place is waiting.