The Messy Table

Read: “When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:6-8 (NLT)

Reflect: Jesus drove the Pharisees (the religious leaders of his time) crazy. They were all about enforcing rules, and Jesus was all about breaking the rules to love all people. His friends included corrupt tax collectors, prostitutes and other outcasts. This was the “messy” Biblical cast that he chose to sit, eat, and drink with, whose lives were forever changed after their encounter with him.

For years I thought I had to have it all cleaned up before coming to God. This played out in my everyday life as well. I thought I had to have the perfect house and family before I could invite others into my home. Ironically, it wasn’t until I lost my home and my marriage failed that I could actually breathe again and realized that I no longer had to pretend my life wasn’t a mess.

During that difficult season I first heard the song “I am a friend of God.” It talked about the truth that God loves me and is always thinking of me. It certainly didn’t line up with what I had experienced. Like the Pharisees, I erroneously thought my mess automatically put me at the sinner’s table. Thankfully, Jesus’ love for us is not based on our merit, but rather on his mercy. This is the truth that now allows me to host a growth group and open my home to other less-than-perfect people like me — all at my messy table!

React: Do you see Jesus as a friend? Have you accepted his invitation to the table?

Pray: Dear God, thank you for the invitation to your table, just as I am. Help me to see you as my loving father and friend and to remember that, while I was still a sinner, you sent your son to die for me. Give me the courage to share my table with others.