by Colonel Janice A. Howard, Territorial Secretary for Women’s Ministries
around a kitchen counter,
in various restaurants,
at the dining room table,
by the warm campfire,
in several vehicles,
on the busy street,
at the baseball stadium
I’m sure I’ve missed recalling a few locations where I’ve recently eaten with friends, family, church members, colleagues and strangers. The bottom line is meals draw people together. We all need to eat.
During recent months my husband Steve and I have facilitated several fellowship meals, where we gather around tables to intentionally share blessings, testimonies, conversations, worship and encouragement. It’s been well worth the investment of our time. A cadet remarked he learned more about other cadets than he’d known about them in the preceding three months. An officer commented the encouragement and compliments helped her to see herself in a new light. The tables became holy places where God’s presence was evident, in conversation and in one another.
Since commissioning last June we have heard, read and considered much about who is welcomed at our “tables” (corps, homes and hearts).
Have you given thought to the people you invite and the conversations that take place? Invite different and new people into your heart and at your table. Look at them with eyes of love, compassion and interest. Share, ask questions and listen in order to hear their stories and their hearts. We each have a story, which is part of HIS story. Spending time at the table is a great way to hear someone’s story and to see Jesus in it and them.
Jesus ate at many different tables with a wide range of people. He ate on the wrong days (fast days), with the wrong people (sinners), at the wrong tables (Samaritan’s water cup). Or did He? Those tables became holy tables and those people, His friends.
Consider not only the setting of your next meal but who will eat with you.