Our family dining room table was the biggest personal sentimental loss from the Paradise, California, fires in November 2018.
Now, there was nothing particularly remarkable about my family's table. It was a long, narrow, laminated particle board table. My parents had purchased this table set soon after they finished seminary. It was the best they could afford at the time and ended up seeing them through nearly 40 years of pastoral ministry and hospitality.
The memories around this table are what make it special. It was a place of practicality, togetherness and hospitality. It was the site of science experiments, diorama art projects, Pathfinder honors, Bible studies and homeschool assignments. Our lives centered around this table where we hosted family, friends and strangers for a meal and long, faith-filled conversations.
Tables come in all shapes, sizes and functions. Tables can be commonplace or memorable, personal or corporate, literal or metaphorical.
In the Bible, scholars note how tables are a place where God is present. Tables are intended to be places for harmony, love, goodwill, provision and reconciliation — a universal symbol of togetherness and community.
God started out by setting a table for us in the Garden of Eden. Even after Adam and Eve’s fateful decision, God kept setting tables as places to gather, to dwell and to be present with Him. There’s plenty to feast on here with a topical study of tables, hunger, bread and more. Get started with Isa. 55, Psalm 23:5, Matt. 26:17–30 and Matt. 14:13–21.
Not only does God set tables, He also overturns tables to change our thinking, perspectives or practices to better align with His kingdom — see Matt. 21:12–17 and Mark 11:15–19.
Ultimately, God is preparing a table for us to sit at eternally as His heirs. We see the Lord’s Supper as a symbol of the eternal marriage supper where God’s family will fellowship forever — see Rev. 19:1–10.
While we wait for this heavenly table, we can nurture qualities to help us be better table mates. The ability to listen respectfully, interact with generations young and old, seek understanding, embrace diversity of thought and disagree with grace can foster more meaningful conversations.
With Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year coming, we will likely have opportunities to set or join a table. These moments provide a chance to engage in conversations that bridge generational gaps, fostering spiritual growth and development.
Through our continuing Table Talk interactions, let's aim to invite just one more person to God's table as we feast on His Word and eagerly await the return of Jesus.
Table Talk Prompt
- What qualities should we nurture in our earthly conversations to prepare for fellowship at God's abundant banquet table?
Let’s keep the conversation going! Share highlights of your table talk stories and reflections by emailing email@example.com.