Why Table Manners?

May 26, 2019 | Written by Jonathan Cleveland

This summer we are in a series called “Table Manners for Flawed People.”

The premise for this series is this amazing truth of the kingdom of God:

When we follow Jesus he invites us to the table – the banquet of the king – which is wonderful, only there’s a catch: We’re not the only one sitting at the table.

Inevitably we sit at the table with people who are VERY different from us.

They value different things, they are motivated in different ways, they like to sin differently than we do.

Our temptation when we don’t understand each other is to eject from those relationships and go find people who are easier to be around.

Which is really unfortunate, because our savior said this:

34“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13

When we struggle to get along at this table that Jesus has created for us the watching world concludes: “Your Jesus must be too small – because he doesn’t even seem to be big enough for y’all to stay together and love each other.”

To be the church means we have to honor the fact that God created us differently.

Unfortunately, sometimes what God created to be a beautiful combination of differences becomes ugly competition of who’s motives and values are better.

What we fail to realize is that we need each other. And God brought us to the table precisely because we are different.

We have to understand ourself and each other to learn to be at the table in healthy ways.

So what we’re trying to do this summer is understand what makes us unique and what makes other people unique so we can find new paths to love each other and stay connected at the table of our King. This summer we’re working on our “table manners.”

We’re studying nine Bible characters – who are driven by very different motives and values.

But all of them are a part of the kingdom – all of them are sitting at the table of the king.

We are finding ourselves in their stories and we’re asking how do these people fit together for God’s purposes. Is there a way that these people who are so different could sit at the same table?

Here is the dream – all of us at the table together… despite our tremendous differences.

Instead of ejecting and going to find another table, we are going to do the most counter cultural, inhuman thing ever…

We are going to learn to understand each other so we can love one another really well.

Even when – especially when – we just don’t get it.

Bringing us all to the table is God’s idea. And he said when it works – everyone will know you’re following me.

May our church be a reflection of the savior we follow.

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