What I Bring to the Table

Spoken Word is meant to heard…listen along!

God, what I bring to your table is not a resume,
Putting on display my skills, accomplishments, talents.
I’m tempted to tally these up in an attempt to justify why I belong here.
It’s painfully clear that someone like you shouldn’t sit with someone like me,
And I guess I’m just afraid that you’ll leave.
Can’t quite believe that this isn’t a mistake,
Can’t shake the feeling that this empty chair isn’t meant for me,
That you’ll see who I really am. . .and slam the door right in my face.
And so I push to earn my place.
Afraid of that disgrace I race and race and race and race
And I can’t chase away that feeling that I’m still sitting on your chopping block.

I am weary. And hungry.
But apparently this emptiness isn’t something you dismiss.
You’ve promised and your Word is the witness:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it” (Psalm 81:10)

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare” (Isaiah 55:1-2)

So, Father, I will try to trust
That when you invite me to dinner, you want me to show up hungry.
You are a generous feast-providing God
And the least I can do is bring you my appetite.
“A broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise”
You don’t turn away desperate people.
It’s clear in the gospels that Jesus only turned away the proud.
May I not be part of that crowd,
May I not be stuck in self-sufficiency or self-righteousness.
And this is certainly my tendency,
So God I need you to rescue me.

May I come to you as a hungry sinner,
Not showing up for family dinner with a sandwich in a paper bag,
Bragging that I brought my own meal.
What an insult to your hospitality!
Plus, in reality my paper bag is empty,
Just a hollow pretension of self-provision.
Cause everything I have, I have been given.
And so often I am driven, but not in the right direction.

Too often my soul sits at a work table, or a desk,
Where my pesky problems undermine productivity.
There is only room for me at THAT table if I can justify why I belong.
So the resumes must be fluffed,
The inner mess must be stuffed,
I’m Never Doing Enough yet I still feel like an imposter.

But at the kitchen table, the main goal is Family.
And being messy doesn’t stop Family from happening.
Family occurs in the midst of the mess.
No pressure to impress or be on my best behaviour,
Cause my saviour sits right next to me
And he is not ashamed to call me “brother.”

Every other table has a price tag of good deeds.
But I don’t need to buy belonging
Cause at THIS table we say “Grace.”
There is space for all of me, even on my bad days.

I just wish there was a way that I could actually believe it.
Some special means to internalize what my eyes glimpse in rare moments of clarity.
But maybe it’s as slow and simple as a small act done again and again:
Repeatedly dropping by for dinner until I feel like I belong,
Tenaciously taking my place at your table,
Even when inner voices try to tempt me towards the desk.
God, give me the stubborn ability to keep showing up:
Messy and hungry, weary and empty.
Trusting that Family can handle me,
That you, Father. are not bothered by my need.
I believe, Lord. . .but help my unbelief.