by Kathryn Dyksterhouse
Have you ever felt nervous walking into a room by yourself and wondering if you will see anyone that you know? Will there be a seat at the table for you? Will you be welcomed in or glared at as the stranger?
I went to a reunion last weekend. On Saturday night, there was a great banquet. There were long tables reaching the length of the banquet hall. Seats were filling up quickly. I had to turn around to get something before we went inside and found myself separated from the friends that I had been standing with. By the time I got inside, all of the seats near my friends had been taken. While this was a grand reunion of a great group of women, any of which I would have loved to sit with, I wanted to be with my friends from long-ago.
I looked up and saw another group of friends calling me over. Asking me to sit with them. In fact, they had a seat saved just for me. As I sat with those friends and belly laughed and cried until my cheeks hurt, I was reminded of the value of having a seat at the table.
I have recently been listening to a podcast by Heather Holleman (who also happened to be at this reunion). She is the author of a devotional book called Seated with Christ: Living Freely in a Culture of Comparison. Her podcasts are only 10 minutes long (very easy to listen to when you only have a few minutes of free time) but keep me thinking for weeks. I actually have listened to each segment about 3 times just to soak in the truth of what she is saying.
Her book (and podcast) are a closer look at the beginning of Ephesians 2. Verses 1-10 say:
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Heather was struck by that word in verse 6: “seated.” She reminds us of the implications of what it means that Christ is seated – that the work is FINISHED. And now that we are seated with Him, we can rest in knowing that we don’t have to do anything to earn that seat, but that it is already ours in Christ.
Heather says in her book that, “Without this goal of intimacy with Jesus, seated with Him in the heavenly realms, I live as one trying to earn a seat at whatever table happens to mean the most to me in any given season of life.” Does that sound familiar to you? What seat are you trying to earn right now? A seat at the good parents’ table, at the beautiful home and garden table, at the healthy table?
Heather goes on: “Ephesians 2:6 dispelled the darkness inside of me. Jesus says I’m seated with Him. I have a place at the table. I can stop fighting to prove my worth. Because I’m seated at the table, I’m invited to gaze at the Head, Jesus Christ, and allow Him to set me free from both self-exalting and self-condemning behaviors… We have a place at the table with Jesus.”
Just like I felt this weekend when I was called over to sit with my friends and welcomed in, Jesus does the same for us. He calls us over and tells us that He has a seat saved just for us. No more striving to prove our worth. We have a place at the greatest table with the greatest King!
If you would like to listen to this podcast, it is called “The Verb with Heather Holleman” and can be found wherever you listen to podcasts. Click here to find it on iTunes.