• Joe Carr

The Kingdom is Like a Table

We had a friend who once gave us a farmhouse table. It is a beautifully stained, hand-made, planked wooden table. Our friends were moving and thought we would like to have it. At the time we had two other dinning tables, which made me question why Lauryn would so quickly accept her offer. But when it came time to move to Massachusetts, we opted to give up those other two tables for the third. Lauryn must have known what I did not. The farmhouse table found its way to Boston undoubtably because it would better fit our new eating area in a smaller house yet give us enough space for company. After a few months of living with this table, we wondered how less cluttered our small kitchen might be with a round one that could expand to fit guests when needed. Thanks to the brilliant minds that create space saving furniture like IKEA, we found our new round table (with a built in leaf, stored right inside the table!) this past weekend. But who will take our beloved farmhouse table? Craigslist to the rescue!

A few hours after posting our ad, we had a buyer. The next afternoon, two college ladies showed up at our door excited to pick up their "new" table and chairs. We started taking measurements of the furniture and the space inside their small SUV and decided that it MIGHT fit. It didn’t. I should also add that of all the items that we moved from Arkansas, this was the one thing that required taking our front door off its hinges to move into the house. AND…It would require the same thing heading the other direction.

So there we were on the street, dogging cars and raindrops, a heavy table half way into the back of their car, our front doorway wide open and a growing conundrum. I finally broke the silence and said, “Why don’t I just deliver it to you in my van.” I don’t expect this is common for most Craigslist exchanges. However, this is the second time I have ended up delivering the piece of furniture I was trying to be rid of. The girls immediately were grateful for my offer. I was reminded right then the impact that is possible when you are willing to offer unexpected kindness to another person. It is a simple act that can carry exponential benefits. So that’s what we did. I followed their car through the streets of my neighborhood into theirs, twenty minutes apart, and delivered our old table to their door. While I drove I began to reflect on the significance of such a moment. I imagined a modern-day parable:

The Kingdom of God is like a table, passed from friend to friend. On it lives beyond just one person’s experience, gracing dinning rooms and kitchens far into the future. Life happens around such a table, blessing a family with a place to share their life with their children or friends. Meals of great significance made from multiple courses, expensive wines, and honored guests will be consumed at it. The same surface will also welcome microwaved leftovers and hurried bowls of cereal. At times the food, like the table, will move out of focus while friends sit across from one another sharing their deepest hurts or wildest dreams. Reconciliation is made here. Hospitality is found here. Family lives here. It is a place for homework to be finished and junk mail to be collected. Tears and crayons will leave their mark. And when it is time, that table will find a new home on another leg of its journey and bless someone else all over again.

Can you see it now? Our lives, our homes, and our possessions can create space for the Kingdom of God to expand in this world. What if we considered every moment sacred? What if we passed on more that just "stuff"? What if we considered each thing we own and everything we give away or sell as an expansion of God's Kingdom?

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