On my way to the table to share a meal with my family, I often take a moment to reflect on a few things. It takes a lot of willpower to shut down my hostessing and just enjoy the few minutes before a meal. I start by taking an inventory of who is in the room with me. My children, or some mix of them, family members, friends, and new guests are all common. One table is almost never enough, and that makes me bubble over with happiness. Sharing a meal is traditionally a big deal in my home. Everyone participates in some fashion, and we are all stuffed and happy when we finish.
The next thing I do is get everyone quieted down for prayer before we eat. I love to listen as my husband prays for our meal and for everyone in attendance. This is the part that gets me every time, when he says, “Bless the hands that prepared this meal.”
“Bless the hands that prepared this meal” is such a strong statement of encouragement for me. I think I have taken that for granted for a long time, always trying to rush back to the kitchen to do a few last-minute things. I feel like I can very much relate to the Martha wanting to serve Jesus and preparing for his visit (see Luke 10). In reality she should have been hanging on his every word and realizing the best opportunity in that moment was to spend time with him.
The time I spend around my family table is just as important as the time I spend around Christ’s table. I get to know them better, I grow closer to them, I get to honor them by preparing and serving them physically, emotionally, and sometimes spiritually. I sometimes think I get more out of serving them than they get out of being served! I want my guests to feel more than welcome at my table. I want them to know they are worthy of the seats they sit in, worthy of my time and my best efforts. I want to use the good dishes and not settle for paper plates and plasticware.
When I approach the table of Christ, I feel the same way. Although I am the one being served and not the one doing the serving, I think I get more out of the experience than He does. I get to know Him better, I get to honor Him, and I get to be closer to Him.
I always feel the best of everything I am happens when I come to the table. Even when I come to repent, to confess, or to plead for forgiveness, I know I am his child, always wanted. The times I come to rejoice, to praise, and to worship, I know I am His child. I try not to let things distract me from the reason I am there. Sometimes it’s hard to stop hearing babies crying or people whispering around me. Sometimes it is very easy to come to the table and never hear another sound, because I want that moment so badly. I want my Lord to know I am here in this moment, and I am His.
When I am playing the role of hostess at my own table, I always reflect on that other most important table, and how the fact that I can serve and be served at the same time is such a miracle, such a blessing. I will always be thankful for a table of mixed company, abundant blessings, and the opportunity to serve the ones I love as He has served me.
Angie Dailey lives in rural Ohio with her husband and family. She spends her best and most important time with the Creator of the Universe and with her family. She loves coffee, Jesus, and gardening, but not necessarily in that order. Angie blogs at angiedailey.com.
Photograph used with permission from, and copyright of, Michelle Lenger.