Monday, January 30, 2017

Building A Bigger Table

In the Noonday Collection world we have a saying that states when a table becomes full, we just build a bigger table.

I love the imagery of gathering around a table.

There is so much life that happens around tables. Strangers becoming friends, families sharing intimate moments, hearts and bellies becoming full, mourning and celebrations often all take place around a table.

You know who else often found himself gathering around a table, Jesus.
Jesus even chose to gather around a table with his closest followers just days before his death.

Over the past several years, I have heard more and more people draw attention to the fact that Jesus essentially surrounded himself with only a handful of people, his 12 disciples. 

This focus has lead to an increased rationalizing of small, secluded groups in churches and the American Christian community. After all, if Jesus only had twelve close friends, then shouldn't I, right?

Having a few, safe, close friends to share life with is great. We all need people to listen to us and speak life into us when we need it. Please hear this, having a small group of people you can trust and confide in is a good thing.

The problem comes when we are so consumed with only saturating ourselves with our people, we fail to share Jesus with anyone not sitting at our table. 

 You see, friends,  Jesus' plan in surrounding himself with the twelve was so that he could eventually build a bigger table.

Jesus knew he had limited days to teach the good news. He had limited days to pour into what would become his bride, the church. He had limited days to prepare the people to share his sacrifice with the entire world. 

He had to saturate himself into the twelve, so that the twelve could saturate the world with Jesus. The plan was always to reach further than the few. 

The sole purpose of teaching those close to him well was so they would be equipped and ready to share with everyone else. 

If we as followers of Jesus want to live as Jesus lived, our purpose in drawing close to the few has to be so we can ultimately reach more people. 

We must always be willing and ready to build a bigger table.

That, of course, begins with sharing our table with a few.

Gather with a few, yes.

Then pull up more chairs.

Then when there is no longer room for more chairs, build a bigger table. 
The message of Jesus is one of inclusion, shouldn't we mimic that.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:17, NIV