Come gather around the table,
Where weary followers meet,
And together we will find out purpose,
As we sit in awe at His feet
Picture the scene: it’s Christmas Day. Everyone is getting ready for the feast.
Your mother is glued to the oven, praying the turkey makes it. Potato flies everywhere as your brother mashes the spuds like he’s in a boxing ring. Your Aunt and Uncle frantically set the table, bickering over which napkins to use. Younger relatives are running around proudly showing everyone in sight their new toys, demanding undivided attention. There’s a hungry baby screaming in the corner as the smell of food fills the room.
Everybody has a job to do, humans to take care of, things to get ready.
Then finally, your father calls you to the table.
You’re invited to leave the chaotic activity around you to follow your father’s voice. The table is ready and waiting.
Imagine then, declining the offer, choosing to rush around to find more jobs to do, and missing the main event that all the activity was leading up to.
This is often how we treat discipleship. We try to squeeze it in and around our busy lives, with a reluctance to abandon the to-lists to gather at the table.
We become consumed in the earthly everyday, losing sight that the responsibilities and tasks given to us to steward are supposed to lead us to Him, not distract us from Him.
Then we look at the response of Jesus’ first followers, there is something so beautifully liberating in their willingness to surrender.
Jesus called, the disciples left, and followed Him. Matthew waved goodbye to his tax booth; Peter and Andrew left their boat; James and John bid farewell to their families. Now this is not to say that we should drop all the good gifts God has given us in the form of jobs or family. We are not suggesting that you should ignore your children or never set a table again. It’s a shift of the heart.
We ought to see that saying “yes” to Jesus involves full abandonment to the frantic, restless life that the world longs to strap on us, and live according to His will. His call is to live a life that holds radically different values to the culture around us.
Henri Nouwen puts it this way: “To live a spiritual life means to become living Christs. It is enough to try to imitate Christ as much as possible; it is not enough to remind others of Jesus; it is not enough to to be inspired by the words and actions of Jesus Christ. No, the spiritual life presents us with a far more radical demand: to be living Christs here and now, in time and history.”
We believe that God chooses to reveal who He is to us and how to be human. He longs to gather us around the table and teach us how to live whole and holy.
“Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly”
But we don’t travel this journey solo.
The church is the table around which we gather, with Jesus at the head as our first teacher. We long to be a committed community heeding the call of our father’s voice together, learning how to walk this surrendered life out through the leading and empowerment of the Holy Spirit as one family.
Everything we do, ought to draw us to the table to be with our father. We long to be disciples and make disciples wherever He places our feet. From the classroom to the boardroom, from preaching on soap boxes to changing nappies, we long to glorify God wherever we are, and in whatever we do.
Os Guinness sums it up better: “Calling is the truth that God calls us to himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a special devotion and dynamism lived out as a response to His summons and service.”
The invitation is yours. The table is ready and waiting.