I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the idea of taking our place at the table. Psalms talks about God, the Father-Shepherd, preparing a banquet for us in the presence of our enemies and that’s all well and good if we actually pull up a chair.

I teach my children that it’s rude to run up to Mommy’s freshly cooked and served dinner, snatch a nibble, and run off like this is poolside watermelon time. No, no, sweet restless things, you must pull up. Sit. Converse. Listen. This is dinner. There is great food, fun company, and oh! Did Mommy mention dessert? But stay in your chair. Patience, dear ones, patience.

Your seat at the table brings great blessings, but also great responsibility.

I see myself in my children in this. I want to nibble at God’s blessings, get dessert first, get up, get down, run around the room, get impatient at the idea of faithfulness. He says, “This is your place at the table. We don’t want or need an empty chair, nor is the chair for anyone else. This is yours. There are blessings assigned to you here, but only if you take your place. You cannot stand in the corner and watch or your chair will be empty. You cannot nibble and snack and walk around the table or your chair will be empty. You cannot go get full on other things or your chair will be empty. See here, this right in front of you? Pull up your chair. Take your place. It is yours to take. I did not make a show of this feast for your enemies to then laugh over empty chairs.”

Your seat at the table brings great blessings, but also great responsibility.

It’s hard, I tell Him. So many responsibilities, pressing, pressing. I might sit in my chair and then wilt under the pressure, I confide to Him. But how curious is it that He instructs me to sit in the presence of my enemies? Fear, worry, exhaustion, comparison, overwhelm seem to be odd dinner companions but there they are. And He says sit down.

Like every proper dinner party, there is my name. It is my place. I am here to take my place, it confirms to me, and I know just by pulling up that I belong. It’s right there in front of me. So immediately Comparison gets a holy slap in the face.

I continue faithfully obeying Him, quietly serving Him, and food is served. It’s there. It’s right there. And Fear gets shown the door.

I lean in, I listen. I cry, I laugh, I obey through the meal again and again and again, and My Host shouts to Overwhelm, “Hey, did you see that?! Look at my girl! She just listens to my voice! Look at her peace now!” Overwhelm is furious and sulks off.

Sadness slips up quietly behind and catches off guard. Dark thoughts hide with Sadness and it likes to make itself all consuming. I fumble with my meal, drop my glass, fight back tears and I look at my Host. He says,

Your seat at the table brings great blessing but also great responsibility.

He waits. I take a deep breath, turn around, take every single joy tool at my disposal and fight it. The feast He has laid has made me strong. I am at my place and the feast is laid right there. I turn and point to the table furiously: “See this?! The joy of the LORD is my strength!” Sadness recoils and howls in pain. It cannot win.

I turn back to a grinning Host. He winks at me and serves up the most perfect dessert.