While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. Matthew 9:10
Baba’s 1950s yellow formica kitchen table was always open for anybody who happened by. That’s probably why sharing a meal with others has always been a special experience for me. Chances are, if a person is sick, has had a baby, or is new to the neighborhood, someone will show up with a food offering. Many lasting friendships have been formed while sharing a casserole or some pound cake around a kitchen table.
Early believers understood this concept of community. They knew that life wasn’t meant to be lived in isolation, but rather in interacting with and loving others well. They had witnessed the extraordinary way Christ loved, and it often involved dining with people around a table. He feasted at Matthew’s house, Martha’s house, the seashore, and the Upper Room. He dined with His friends, His disciples, Pharisees, tax collectors, and lepers.
Jesus didn’t withdraw from people or their pain. He was never too busy to be bothered by other’s burdens. In fact, He invited them to step away from the busyness of life and share a meal with Him. As a result, the outcast felt as welcome at His dinner table as we did at our grandmother’s.
People are no different today than when Jesus walked the earth. We want to be seen and heard, to know we matter to someone.
We’re surrounded by hurting and lonely people who long for an invitation to break bread with us. They desire to be welcomed. When the coffee flows freey, people feel free to be themselves. If there happens to be a pound case involved, well, that’s just icing on the cake.
May we never be too busy to let someone know that he or she matters by inviting them to dinner. May your kitchen table be a place here people are truly seen and heard.