I remember as a little girl I always loved playing with my mini china tea set. I would set up a full table with pretend guests and make believe food. It was a party every time! From a young age I always loved hosting, but better yet, I loved being hosted. It was always fun to be invited to my friends’ birthday parties and sleepovers. There was always something so special about being invited. It made me feel valued. It still does. This is because we were created with an innate need for community and closeness with others. God designed us first to be I relationship with Him, and then with other people.
So what happens when your friend doesn’t invite you to their party? It feels like a complete and total rejection. Sadness grows within our hearts and we become disappointed with how we’ve been treated. If you’re anything like me, I would always ask myself “What did I do wrong? I had to have done something to hurt that other person?” And guilt seeps in… along with lies from the enemy. He tells me that I am unwanted, undesirable, and not worth spending time with. The people whom I thought were my friends really only ever felt sorry for me, so he said.
So the way I began to see my friendships was the way I began to see my relationship with God.
I thought that He only felt sorry for me. I told myself that there was no room for me at His table, and that He would rather have someone more fun, more spiritual, more dedicated… anyone but me, really. I was too broken and too dirty to sit with Jesus. Surely He wouldn’t want me sharing in His community. As these lies began to take root in my heart and mind the Lord spoke to me in the sweetest and smallest ways. He would ask me to come sit with Him, but I would refuse. My appearance wasn’t acceptable, so I thought. I was not as good as other people. Still He persisted, gently reminding me that He made me new. But again I would not listen.
One day I had had enough of feeling left out. So I cried out to the Lord asking Him “Lord don’t you want me? I feel like an outsider!”
And kindly He said to me, “My daughter, I have had a nametag on your seat at my table for so long. But you were so focused on yourself that you wouldn’t accept my invitation. I want nothing more than to be with you. All you have to do is come.”
I have never felt more loved than in that moment. The Lord wanted me? He made room for me? How could I have been so foolish to not see that? And the only answer to the last question is this:
Sometimes its more comfortable for us to throw our own tea parties than join Jesus at His dinner table where we may have to be vulnerable. You see, I was so afraid of Jesus exposing my dirt and brokenness that I allowed myself to think He didn’t already see those parts of me. Better yet, that thought pattern clouded me from realizing that he already cleaned me up and bound my wounds. All I had to do was simply say “yes”, and the go to be with Him.
The Lord’s table is open to all people at all times, regardless of their condition. He wants to have dinner with you and me. So, will we join?