The last two days have found me doing what I love best, gathering around the table with dear friends. On Sunday evening we had 5 couples over for dinner. We cooked the meat and dessert (of course dessert as it is my favorite food to make) and each couple brought something to add to the meal. We ate our fill of ham, baked beans, Jiffy Corn Casserole, Green Bean Casserole, Broccoli and Rice, Green Salad, Rolls and Texas Yum Yums for dessert. As we sat around the table the laughter and fellowship was just so good.It is amazing how different people are when they are gathered around a table with food. It seems that there is so much less pretense of what is going on in your life and heart. Before guest arrived, I had typed up (Randy made me type the questions up as no one can read my writing) questions to be picked out of a bowl for each person. Some of the questions were:
If you could go back to any age, what would it be and why?
What is your favorite vacation or dream vacation?
What car would you drive and what color would it be?
These are just some of the questions that brought so much laughter. The man who got the car question began to tell us about the corvette he still had after 22 years and some of the stories behind it. Another who answered the age question told us about the year he met his wife and how that was the best year. As we sat and listened to each one, there seemed to be so much that was told that allowed us to see who the person really was and some of their thoughts. There was so much laughter as we listened to a couple tell how they met and became engaged after only 10 days and that was 36 years ago. As I sat and listened to the individuals, I could not help but think about how different we all are, but we tend to thrive on learning about one another.
Then yesterday afternoon, a new friend who I have actually known for years from church and even lived down the same street from she and her husband (who passed away 5 years ago). Our houses were even the same floor plan so when I stepped into her home, so many memories came flooding into my mind of when we lived in that house down the street back in 2000. This precious lady had invited me to her home for tea. Feeling like I was on the set of Downton Abby, I sat down to a table which was set with linen placemats, linen napkins, each of us having our own tea pot and teas to choose from. What a wonderful treat. She served finger sandwiches and miniature desserts, frozen mango bites and quiche. It was such a lovely time. Of course you know what I’m going to say. As good as the food was, the best part was listening to some of the memories she shared about family members, including her precious husband. We sat and talked about our lives and some of the things we might change and some circumstances that had lessons which were sometimes hard and sometimes funny. Our thoughts and our hearts seem to unfold when we gather together around a table. I wish I knew why that was so. But I do know that as Jesus sat around the Communion table with His disciples before going to the Cross, He not only shared a meal with them, but His heart as well. Maybe it’s time that we turn off the television set a little more and take the time to gather around the table and get to know each other a little better. Sometimes, when we have people over, I think to myself, what would I be doing differently if Jesus were coming to dinner? I have to admit that when I ask myself that question, it brings me back to the fact that He would be more concerned about me listening to His heart and He listening to mine, more than He would be concerned about what I was serving Him or how clean the house. Then I remind myself that He is here, gathered around the table with us, each and every time. My lesson Im trying to learn is this: Don’t make the house or the food the focus of the gathering. Make the individuals the focus and listen with an open heart to them. Make them feel important and welcome and make them feel that when they leave our home, they have been loved on and served with a heart that was so very glad they came.
Gathering Around The Table should be about making a memory, showing hospitality, not entertaining.
Entertaining seeks to impress, hospitality wants to bless! may we go and gather together with a heart that reaches out to someone today that needs a listening ear and a receptive heart.
Hebrews 13:5 “I will never leave you or forsake you”
Mark 14:22 “As they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread and asked God’s blessing on it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples.”