The opening scene of Downton Abbey is my favorite. I love watching the precision as each place setting is measured and each piece of crystal and china is carefully positioned with a soft white glove. The scene is regal and formal. This scene is an antonym of dining at our home. Most of our meals are at the kitchen bar and only sometimes eat at the table. We eat off chipped plates. There is no fuss and no linen napkins. In fact the china in this photograph (which I had to dust off) is packed away and never used. I actually wonder why I registered for china when we were married.
“A big stick of dynamite with a short fuse” is how my Dad often described me growing up. There is so much truth to that statement that I’m embarrassed to admit it. Perhaps my biggest struggle is self-control. This morning I lost it! The children interrupted my coffee and quiet time with arguing and bickering. They had multiple wardrobe changes, hair issues, and couldn’t find their stuff for school. Grrr! Does anyone know what I’m talking about?
I quickly apologized for my outburst and asked for forgiveness, but I still felt like a loser parent. This is not how I wanted to start my day. Nor was this how I wanted to send my kids off to school. Today was my day to volunteer at the school. I finished up my volunteer project in time to eat lunch with Rachel. I asked if it was okay that I eat with her, luckily, she said “Yes!” I wasn’t sure if she was “too cool” to eat with her mom so I let her make that decision. (I also wasn’t sure if she was still upset with me over my earlier outburst.) As I glanced around the newly remodeled lunchroom I had to ask “Where do you want me to sit?” If you remember back to school, where you eat and who you eat with is very important!
“You will always eat at the King’s table.” 2 Samuel 9:13
After lunch, I found a quiet place at the school for my devotions (which was interrupted earlier in the day due to fashion drama). I read the story of the friendship between David and Jonathan. The only problem is that Jonathan’s dad, King Saul wanted to kill David. Jonathan instructs David to go into hiding. But before he leaves they make a promise to not cut off any kindness to any remaining family members no matter what happens (1 Samuel 20:15). Years later, Jonathan and his evil dad, King Saul dies. David, the shepherd boy who killed Goliath is now king!
David honored his promise with Jonathan and sought out to take care of any remaining family members (2 Samuel 9:1) As it turned out Jonathan had a crippled son named Mephibosheth or “Bo” for short (2 Samuel 4:4). David sends for the crippled son of his best friend and tells him “Don’t be afraid, for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan…you will always eat at my table.” (2 Samuel 9:7). The words from the following verse resonated with me “He always ate at the king’s table and he was crippled in both feet” (2 Samuel 9:13, NIV).
Sitting at a table outside the kid’s school, I began to cry. I may not be physically crippled, but my temper can be crippling. I ask God to help me with self-control so I don’t cripple my relationships. I think back to Rachel being excited to have lunch with me even though I lost my temper that morning. I can hear the words from our Pastor Karl Hofheinz, “Parents, whatever you do, don’t train wreck the relationship!”
“He always ate at the king’s table and he was crippled in both feet.” Those words remind me that God may not always take away our problems, but we will always have a place at his table! I am reminded that as a believer in Jesus Christ, I will always eat at the king’s table! I don’t deserve such lavish grace, but He serves it anyway!
Grace is always served at God’s table!
Until heaven, we will all remain imperfect and crippled by something. But I am thankful I serve a God who serves grace at his table. Grace dipped in chocolate and served with coffee! Remember, whereyou eat and who you eat with is not only important in elementary school but for all eternity.
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”-Jesus in Revelation 3:20
“May you and I be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith” Romans 1:12