Column — Who will be at your table this holiday season?
Today, tomorrow, this weekend, and even the weeks to come, people will gather all over the place for meals. Thanksgiving and Christmas time bring people together. Whether it be a family get together, work gathering, community or church event or anything else, people will sit and share food and fellowship. The fellowship is much more filling and needed than the food.
Last year ruined opportunities to come together as families and friends.
Now, let’s be honest, sometimes we don’t really want to get together.
Some people we don’t really want to see. Some places just drain us. We have almost perfected the ability to block out and ignore some folks. While this is needed at times for our own mental and emotional state… sometimes… well… we avoid and ignore people just because they’re different. Some of these folks will be at that family get together, that work gathering, or those community and church events. Some folks just talk different, act different, live different, and we try our best to avoid contact.
Bob Goff said, “Jesus spent his whole like engaging the people most of us have spent our whole lives trying to avoid.”
Over the next several weeks, try to be open and loving. Go to that party.
Bring something to that dinner. Sit next to that person. Invite that couple who can be annoying. Again, you don’t need to involve those who emotionally or mentally have hurt you and continue to bring hurt. But some people just need to be loved.
Sadly, this lack of reaching out happens more within church families than it should. You could have been born and raised in a church family, have been baptized, sang in a church choir, said “amen” louder than others, lead as an elder or deacon or maybe even the preacher, dressed so fine, and taught that class… and yet… the love and integrity were not there. Think about the ones Jesus hung out with. Read Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and see the kind of folks Jesus sat down and had food and fellowship with.
Jesus had food and fellowship with the outcasts. Jesus hugged the diseased. Jesus smiled and talked with the adulterers, the prostitutes, the thieves, those with personal sins and struggles. I love how Matthew 9:12-13 tells, “‘Healthy people don’t need a doctor — sick people do.’ Then He added, ‘Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come not to call those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners(NLT).’”
So go have some food and fellowship with your fellow sinners. Be the good they may need.
Rev. J. Cameron Bailey is pastor of Kenbridge Christian Church. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.