By: John Bryant
It was about two months into my work as a Street Pastor in Beaver Falls that the Lord told me my work would be about tables. One of the first things you learn is that people can’t hate each other if they sit with each other. If you sit with a person, you are reconciled with them, even if being reconciled just means asking what their name is.
Early on in this work I had a vision in my heart, something in between an intuition and a daydream. I saw in my mind a man at a table. I had seen him once or twice on the street, and knew him as someone with a sweet smile, a grimy face, a brown coat, and a lifelong battle with schizophrenia. He would approach me hunched over, mumbling a few things I couldn’t understand with a cigarette in his mouth. We had talked for a bit. For the purposes of this post, I’ll call him Ben.
In my mind there was Ben - still in that brown coat, no cigarette, but with the same sweet smile. Only now he was at the head of the table. He didn’t look ecstatic, he looked like he was content, like he was exactly where he’s supposed to be. He seemed relaxed.
It was a vision of what ministry is for.
“Will you serve my table?” I heard the Lord say.
If all provision is the Lord’s, if His is the great offering of His Flesh and Blood, the gift of His own life to us, then every table points to His Table. Every bit of hospitality is about His Great Act of Hospitality, offering coffee and time to people we don’t know even as He offered His own Son to enemies and strangers. So that enemies might be reconciled through an offering set on a table.
Mission, evangelism, the little efforts we make, are about gathering people in the highways and byways for the Great Feast set by that Great King. We must serve at the table set for Ben. It is where he belongs. We must not forget that we go out so that people might be brought home. Mission is ultimately about home. Mission is about tables.