By Blaine Williams
Do you recall sitting at the kids table as you grew up? A holiday meal, a family reunion or some other special occasion that brought friends and family together.
As a kid, I longed for the day when I had my own chair at the big table. No card tables, folding chairs, paper plates or plastic utensils. I longed to be relevant, to take my place in the family, to listen and contribute to the stories and decisions. What qualified me to sit at the big table? I suspect it was just my age. Maybe I had just out grown the small card table. Maybe someone else was no longer with us and there was an open chair. However I got there, I doubt I earned my position at the table. I was given my chair because I was a member of the family and it was just time.
Consider this…We don’t earn our position at the Lord’s table. We can’t buy it. We can’t get a seat because of our age. We are not born into the family. In fact, we are born into another family, the family of Adam. Yet He sets us a place and invites us to join Him in His family. All we have to do is accept. Why? Because he loves us – no other reason. What a gracious Lord!
Still I wonder for many of us that have accepted that invitation – Are we still sitting at the kids table?
I must confess that I have spent way too much time at the kids table in my spiritual life even though I often longed to be at the big table. How strange I must have looked as a “long time” Christian – sitting at the card table, with a folder chair using plastic utensils. I have spent too much time be taught the basic things about God’s word again and again, constantly being fed milk rather than solid food (ref: Hebrews 5). Never really applying God’s word to my life. Never allowing it to truly penetrate my daily actions. Never having an active relationship with Him. I was content to attend a church service on Sunday and struggle to spend time in His word a few weeks out of the year. How about you? Are you still sitting at the kids table?
Fortunately, God had a plan to move me to another table about a year ago. He used many of his faithful followers to show me that there is much more to His table than a one-time invitation. Oh what a feast that He prepared. Some things looked very familiar. Still others, were foreign to me. I didn’t think I was ready for some of what he had prepared. Just like a kid I wasn’t sure I wanted to try it. I was fine with chicken nuggets! However, there is much more to life than chicken nuggets! Taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8). I have learned that God is alive and He lives through us – if we will let him (but I first has to realize that I had truly died to this world, find my new identity and know that I was part of His kingdom).
I have learned that God still speaks – if we will listen (it takes time, and practice to learn His voice, His quite voice). I have learned that God has a plan – if we will but follow (but it is seldom laid out completely, it requires faith and trust). I have learned that God works through others – if we will fellowship with them (God has set several tables for me to fellowship with others – I cherish the time at the table). More than anything else, I have learned that I cannot do it in my own power. It requires submission. God is made powerful through my submission to Him. Praying that His kingdom come – His will be done (you have to study and spend time with God to understand his will). If we can learn to submit ourselves to Him in the small things, we will soon find ourselves submitting in the larger things. I am not there yet – but WE are working on it!
In 2 Timothy we find that some utensils are made of gold and silver and some are made of wood and clay? The expensive utensils are used for special occasions and the cheap ones are for everyday use. I know that I have been a cheap utensil most of my life hardly useful for the kids table but I long to be set aside for special occasions. To be at the big table, ready for the Lord to use me for every good work.
How about you? Are you actively submitting to Him?
If not, find a table. Sit down at His table and ask Him to bring a table of believers to your life. Move away from the kids table and take your place at the big table – allow him to use you to show others His love.
Personal thought: Blaine surprised me when he started hanging out with us at The Table. Why? Well, I remembered him from the early days at one of the local churches we first attended. I knew he’d “grown up in the church,” so I expected some push back about the missional/incarnational discussions we were having. Instead, he came with questions and a desire to understand his role in the kingdom of God. In the short time he’s been connected to The Table, I’ve seen an awesome transformation of his heart and desires. I’m blown away by the keen discernment he has for his spheres of influence, and his humility for wanting to live a kingdom life in all those spheres. Blaine has become a dear friend for sure and most importantly a solid brother in Christ. He’s a shepherd and teacher at heart and it’s a great joy to see those gifts blossom. Maybe in his next blog post he’ll tell us how the Lord has taken him from the kids table, to The Table at Fuzzy’s and now to the table in his dining room connecting with the world around him.
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