The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the Lord swore to give to your fathers. And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Deuteronomy 8: 1-3
I watch my youngest sit at the table with his siblings who are older with more understanding and skill set and coordination.
He sits down. He wants to partake. Today is an impromptu tea party with homemade zucchini bread and frozen blueberries.
His siblings use their manners to the best of their abilities to pour tea in to their little plastic tea cups. My daughter pours tea in to his cup. He stands up on the bench and throws his body towards the creamer. Everyone has something to say about his behavior.
Sit down, please, I urge. He listens but still tries to grab at the creamer. I take the creamer and pour some in to his tea, which pleases his momentarily.
This is his first official tea party invite to the table. He has been a bystander from his high chair in prior tea parties.
He reaches for his tea cup, spilling some on himself and grabbing his sister’s while he is at it and drinking hers, too. He laughs and enjoys his seat among his siblings.
Wet and covered in zucchini bread crumbs, he stands and sits and grabs and partially listens to the cries of his siblings to stop and be careful. I watch their interactions just a few feet away as I redirect him, too.
As I watch, a reminder of what is expected of us in the Church comes to mind. A reminder of maturity. Of whether we are drinking spiritual milk or have moved on to solid food (1 Corinthians 3:2). Whether we are graced filled with those who are dabbling in milk and coming into faith or whether we are full of cries of judgment for their lack of manners and character and posture.
We come to the Lords table and enter the faith at different points. With different scars and wounds and trauma. Some have dabbled in Pandora’s box and unleashed the unknown into their lives, only to have the grace of God fill in those spaces and claim victory over those tragedies and we are to love them. Right where they are at, wherever we are.
It takes time to learn and grow and process. How we respond to others is an indicator of our heart and a true indicator of what we are eating; solid food or milk. Sometimes we are not old enough in our faith to understand it and cannot handle the pushes and grabbing but as we get to know the heart of God through scripture, He softens our hearts and gives us wisdom and understanding because man does not live on bread alone but every word of God. If we are living on God’s word, we are soaking in his truths and it will not return void.
Inviting others to our table, to the Church, can look like a mess. It can look like miscommunication and misunderstandings and bad habits. Our response to a situation is going to be a reflection of Jesus and hopefully an accurate portrayal.
In our Foster Care training, they reiterated the importance of keeping ourselves at a homeostasis emotional level despite children getting angry and spiraling because if we are both spiraling we are not going to get anywhere, except angrier and adding more trauma to child who already has experienced trauma. The same is true with any relationship, especially as a Believer.
Our ability to keep our homeostasis in situations is vital. Keeping the peace and ushering in those to the Table. Showing them how to eat and sit and love by example as Jesus ushers in healing.
// DIVE DEEPER
+ Read Deuteronomy chapter 8. What does it look like to be "living on every word of God'?" How might this change your: thought life / physical body / relationships / etc?
+ Take time to think about your heart towards Believers, non – Believers and God. Are there areas in your heart you need to ask God to remove or add to? (i.e. judgement, compassion, critical thinking, anger, fear, etc.)
+ Is there anyone you have wrongly judged or ushered away from your table? Pray about reconciliation and how the Lord would use you in their life.
Praying that the Lord would soften your heart to opening your table to someone who stretches you and for the strength to love them well in the name of Jesus. Praying you would see how the little things play out in your life and that you would walk in such a way that you would be moved to compassion over judgement and love over fear.
Originally posted in The Inspire Monthly newsletter, May 2018. Join the adventure to be the first to get it straight to your inbox, along with other fun tidbits from the shop.