Some of the most profound and lasting experiences in God have transpired across a table as people share a meal together. We have been both on the giving and receiving end of these life changing moments when the table has become a sacred place where God’s presence shows up. The results are often more powerful than in a Holy Spirit charged church service.
We can see this in the life of Jesus. He taught more lessons around a table in a home than in a synagogue or on a hillside. Consider the Last Supper, the meal with the two in Emmaus, the homes of Simon the Leper, Lazarus, Zacchaeus … the list goes on. Jesus transacted God’s business across tables with the religious and the sinner alike. It didn’t matter. A common piece of household furniture was transfigured into an altar.
Sharing a meal around a table is a universal symbol of hospitality. It seems to open hearts in a unique way. There are no walls separating. We all eat the same fare. Socio/economic status and class consciousness is not apparent. All participants are on the same level: face-to-face, eye-to-eye. The table is a great equalizer: an opportunity for amazing things to happen.
During the months of April and May, Gail and I are taking time to meet with people along the East Coast, sharing the things God is doing globally and presenting opportunity for partnership.
We are speaking at church services every weekend, a few gatherings for ministers, but most of our visits involve table ministry. The value of this kind of fellowship (koinonia) with others cannot be overestimated.
I have long believed in the power of small group ministry to change lives. A small group provides greater intimacy and intensity which produces greater capacity and acceleration of life change. Table ministry has the small group dynamic. We should use it often as a tool for evangelism, discipleship and a way to strengthen partnerships. I encourage you to use table ministry in your life to impact others with the love of Jesus. Everyone of us is a minister of reconciliation. A table is a useful tool to reach into people’s lives in a warm, sincere and disarming way. Expect God to join you as the unseen Guest at your table.
Bob and Gail