Acceptance at His TableFriday, April 23, 2010
One evening, a man grieving over the loss of his wife returns to the restaurant to retrieve his phone which he had earlier left behind. Even though he is a stranger to the friends at the table, he is graciously welcomed as if he had always belonged there. And in that moment he begins a journey which heals his heart. At the table he finds family, friends, acceptance and love.
Isn't that something we all want -- to be accepted and loved? So often we search for that feeling of belonging in places where we will only find heartache and sorrow.
Our lonely human hearts long to be loved and cared for. Sometimes it is the teenage girl searching for love in the arms of another who is left only with shame and more loneliness. Sometimes it is the one searching for acceptance by following his peers' destructive behavior who ends up trying to numb his pain with a bottle or the end of a needle. Often it is the person who is so consumed by striving to succeed who ends up not gaining anything of any real value. She works and labors to add more "things" to her life hoping they will fill the void she feels inside, but discovers it is not enough. Temporal things are never enough to satisfy the longing we feel inside. But, when we seek the Lord, our hunger for love will be satisfied.
"Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and He will give you everything you need" (Luke 12:31).
Our God is the most gracious of Hosts. It doesn't matter if we are young or old -- He welcomes us just the same. He looks past the color of our skin, the length of our hair and the style of our clothes and sees right to our hearts. He knows our scars, our pain and our fears. And regardless of where we've been His invitation is given to all of us. "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). What a wonderful promise that is! No matter who we are, where we come from or what baggage we carry, when we answer His invitation to come to Him, He welcomes us with open arms. And there, when seated at His table, we will find a banquet filled with forgiveness, acceptance, and love.
"Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God" (Ephesians 3:17-19).