Monday, July 30, 2012

A Place at Our Table

About a month ago, we sold our dining table and chairs and bought a new (to us) dining table.  It was a break-even deal on the sale and purchase, though we're using a bench made by the seller to match the table and wooden folding chairs as seating.

We bought the new table because it's 7 ft. long and can extend to 11 ft. long with the leaves that tuck into the end.  Which means we can fit more people at our table!  Just this past Sunday, we had our good friends, Marty and Mandy Rhodes, with their four children, sitting around our dining table, enjoying lunch together.  And we all fit around the table, even without extending the leaves.

I love having friends over, because I really enjoy the company, the conversations, and an excuse to put on a fresh pot of coffee in the afternoon.  But is that all? 

12 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” 

And it made me ask myself, who do we have at our table?  Not only literally, but also figuratively.  Who do you have at your table?  Who do you sign up to take meals to, who do you invite in to your home, who's on your Christmas gift and mailing list?  Where do you send (or spend) your money?

I'd like to tell about a couple of the guests at the Pickett banquet, not to pat myself on the back or for any glory for myself or my family, but to give all the glory to God, for His provision so that we are able to give, even out of our need for funding.   

My children were at VBS last week, where they also attend AWANA.  All week, Ayden and Elijah were talking about Christopher from Zambia, who would love to have a bicycle, and I assumed the church sponsored a child from Compassion International, like our Akoete.  I was only there at the end of VBS, when the donations for the night were announced, and I was imagining the happy smile of a young boy and his family when they received a large financial gift from their church sponsor.

Then Friday night, the parents were asked to stay the entire evening, and the pastor of the church told us Christopher's story.  I was confused when I saw that Christopher is not a small boy, he's a pastor in Zambia.  A pastor who travels on foot to his church and to minister to his community.  A pastor whose family is scraping by on the equivalent of $160 USD per month.  A pastor who wants a bicycle to be able to reach more people, to bring more glory to God.

As I sat there in the pew, my heart breaking as I listened to his story, about him holding his wife as she died giving birth to their daughter, his faith during crisis, and his love for the people in his village, and him remarrying and having another child, and seeing the photos of all the ways they serve, all the ministries they run.  And all he wants is a bike.  A bike!  My kids have bikes they barely ride, and only when they want to.  Christopher wants a bicycle to be able to reach more people, win more souls to the Kingdom of God, for God's glory alone.

And I knew.  I knew right then that Christopher had a place at our table.  I had to force my feet to walk past the pastor as we left the sanctuary and went to the fellowship hall, because I knew I needed to talk to Scott about buying a bicycle before talking to the pastor.  As soon as we sat down to eat, Scott's first words were "We're buying him a bike."  Out of God's perfect provision, we have what is needed to buy a bike from Zambikes, a company in Zambia.  Christopher will soon have a bicycle, and hopefully a small cart that attaches to the back.

Now, back to the Rhodes family.  They literally and figuratively have a place at our table.  They were here for lunch on Sunday, because they needed to be in town to have commitment paperwork notarized.  COMMITMENT paperwork.  They are GOING BACK!  While I would love to tell this story, because of how beautifully God has written every small detail, it is not mine to tell, and cannot be told until they are officially committed.

Their unplanned, unexpected paper pregnancy comes with around $7,500 in up-front expenses, between the commitment fees, homestudy, background checks, and apostille fees.  Oh, how I remember being there, how stressful those upfront costs were.  So, please, sow into their adoption, no matter how little or how much.  Pull a few extra chairs up to your table.  Donations can be made to the ChipIn on their blog, and they need $2,400 of those fees NOW to start the expedited homestudy. 

I'll end this very long post with a quote:  "Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little." -Edmund Burke

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