Mark 9:33-35 (ESV) And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”
Living in the southernmost part of the country, our seasons are generally welcomed by the calendar and not a change in the atmosphere. While most of the country begins to welcome autumn with falling leaves and pumpkin spice latte, it is recognized here by the turn of the calendar page while coffee is sipped in the humidity of another stormy day. Flipping ahead in my planner, I cannot believe another year is quickly passing. This time last year, our family was preparing for the newest member’s arrival with baby showers while our middle daughter anticipated her high school graduation. Now there is a sweet chunky cherub filling our home with giggles and only one child who has not reached adulthood. Indeed, friends, seasons change without our bidding. They are preset by God to carry out His Plan and His Purpose. Each one bearing seeds from the past sown by faith into the potential of a fertile heart. Are you ready for the change of season?
The seasons of God set forth for us come with the promise of a wonderful plan. The only thing required to achieve His Purpose is faith. Faith empowers us to believe. It is the key that opens the heart to trust the Lord enough to follow the Way. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and Life. He is the Word who carefully lived out the course set before us to become Children of God and receive His Spirit who seals our adoption. However, human expectation sometimes allows pride to get in the way of the process by which faith is acquired.
With the turn of the calendar page it is evident that the busiest time of the year is coming – a new season is here. Planning for the holidays begins with the grandmas, moms and daughters long before the turkey is placed in the oven or pies set out to cool. Menus and accommodations for overflowing tables begin. There will be more food than our family will ever finish and a fridge filled with leftovers just because there always is. Newspapers and laptops strategically setting forth the holiday shopping that will help us work off those extra pounds with retail therapy. There is one inevitable argument that will arise. Who will sit at the kids table? Not an easy call since all the kids are grown and our family expanding. There is the main dining table used for everyday use and then there is a formal dining room only used for special occasions. Of course, everyone wants to sit at the fancy table. It will require someone to humbly accept positions at the “kid’s table” in order for dinner to go smoothly.
Isn’t that how it works with the Lord? All His Children want to sit at His Table with the Father. However, just as our children all began sitting at the kids’ table. We as Children of God must be of a humble heart to do the same. Seasons with God change us but rather not as in the natural. In the spiritual realm, maturity in God comes when Jesus increases and I decrease. (John 3:30)
Matthew 15:22-28 (ESV) And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.
The Lord has prepared a table for us. Communion with Christ means taking in His Body and being washed in His Blood. The significance of His Sacrifice for us is met with expectation that will become the motivation of our relationship with Him. The Jews were looking for elevation. They knew who they were – Children of God. They knew what God’s Promise was and that the Messiah coming. They expected to be served like kings and queens, so when presented with a Humble Savior didn’t recognize His Majesty. Surely this is not the Christ – Son of the Living God.
How often our approach to Christ is of a religious nature? Like a Pharisee looking to live the life of promise but not willing to follow His Example. The beginning of all things in Christ is a relationship that is only achieved in humility. A relationship that starts with two desiring oneness. What is it on the table the Lord has set before us that we desire? Do you need healing? Do you need deliverance? Do you need restoration? Do you need reconciliation? Do you need provision? Do you desire prosperity? All this is laid out like a banquet for Children of God but until we are willing to gather the crumbs beneath the table of God and consume the Body of Christ in all His Humility – we are not worthy to sit at the banquet with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who decided to be broken for us in the first place.
But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith!
I do not think Jesus was trying to humiliate this woman. I believe that He already knew what she desired but more importantly the Healer saw the faith in her heart. He wanted his disciples to see it to. They walked with Jesus. Talked with Him. Maintained friendships with the Messiah. Believed He was the Son of the Living God. However, they were following Him expecting the table not the Cross. The woman was desperate for her child. However, unlike Naaman who almost missed what God had for him because of pride, she was of a humble heart. She was desperate for Jesus. Human desperation has differing outcomes according to the condition of our heart. The woman was broken. She would stop at nothing to have a touch from the Lord so she would gladly gather the crumbs beneath his table. Jesus saw her faith and so did his men. He blessed the woman and her daughter was healed.
Psalm 34:8-10 (ESV) Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
In Luke 14, there is a parable of Jesus of the Great Banquet. A man had prepared a banquet for Jesus. Jesus had instructed the host that the blessing in a feast was to invite those who could not reciprocate such as the poor, crippled, lame and blind for the eternal reward would be greater. The man quickly disregarded his statement and tells Jesus, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the Kingdom of God!” Hold up! Reclining at the table in casual conversation the man is schooling Jesus? What? No. Jesus shares the story of the Great Banquet. The invitation was given by the host – yet the ones invited refused to come to the table so the host invited essentially everyone and there was still more room. Jesus was only telling of his arrival for God’s People and their refusal to accept His Invitation so now there was an open invitation into the Kingdom of God to sit at His Table. The table that Jesus was preparing was not like the one of his host that day. It was not fanfare and show but provision. God was providing a way for all to enter in. Jesus invites us to come in and sit with him. He is withholding no good thing from you. He has already reserved a place for you with a standing invitation. It is only accepted through intimacy with Christ that whets our appetite for the things of God rather than looking for the goodies that He has in store for us.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! His Heart is filled with full satisfaction that He wants to share with you. The kind of fulfillment that is not dependent on the things of this world but fully discovered only by faith that leads to confident hope. Friend, it is not what is on the table but what lies underneath that allows us to experience the miracles of Jesus in our life. The foundation on which the marriage supper is grounded is Christ. He is what lies beneath and supports the table. Faith is founded on radical humility that fully gives way to total trust in Him. He knows what you like and don’t like. He knows exactly what you need. He has everything covered. He is standing at the door knocking today! Jesus is waiting and says, “If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” The Lord desires a meal with you. He seeks to meet with you face-to-face. Will you humble your heart and receive Him?
James 4:10 (ESV) Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.