Room at the Table

Written by Rhonda Boyd Alstott

 

In 2 Samuel 9:1-13 we see King David show kindness to Mephibosheth.  Mephibosheth was the surviving grandson of King Saul and the son of David’s dear friend, Jonathon. David had promised each of these men that he would not destroy any of their descendants, which was a common custom in the Middle East when dynasties changed kings. Mephibosheth was also lame, which would have greatly affected his ability to take care of himself. We know it affected his view of himself, as he refers to himself as a “dead dog” in verse 8. David restores Saul’s land To Mephibosheth and tells him that he will always eat at the king’s table. David was essentially bestowing the honor of being one of his own sons to his deceased friend Jonathon’s son. What a gift and blessing to Mephibosheth that was. It is actions like this that give us a glimpse into why God called David “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14).

 

What really touches me is that with all King David’s wealth and kingdom’s resources, he could have sent whatever Mephibosheth needed his way. He could have put him in a house with servants and everything he needed to lead a comfortable life. That would have been an easy option for him to do, but that isn’t what he does.

 

Instead he brings him into his home. He gives him a place of honor at his table.  In his kindness he knows that more than all the resources he can offer Mephibosheth, belonging is what he needs the most. He needs his dignity restored and David understands that resources aren’t the way to do this. David knows it’s a relational issue. He offers belonging and acceptance and a place at the table to do this.

 

We would be wise to learn from this. So often we are willing to throw our resources and money at ministries and organizations hoping that will take care of the problem. Don’t get me wrong, ministries and organizations need money to function, but they need so much more. They need servants willing to “get in the weeds” with people and do the relational work of restoration.  Our local news tells us the sad stories of violence, addiction, and abuse. The list goes on and on. It’s not just local, our epidemics are worldwide. We know that so many of these maladies are caused through a lack of connection and trauma. If we want to ever find a way out of our weeds, we are going to have to roll up our sleeves and do the dirty work. People, especially youth, need healthy and safe relationships. They need kind adults they can look up to. Persons in recovery need mentors and those healing from abuse need to see what loving and healthy relationships look like.

 

One of my first boyfriends was from my local church and came from an amazing family. Merrill and Mary were his parents’ names.  He was also blessed to have both grandmothers living in the same town. Every New Year’s Day they had a dinner where I was invited as a guest. The table was long and beautifully set with china and formal place settings. His grandmother must have sensed my panic at the overwhelming sight of silver placed around several plates. She discreetly whispered in my ear during the meal explaining what plate went for what and what silverware to use for what course.  She got in the weeds and led this poor girl through a formal dinner and spared me the shame of making a fool of myself.  This beautiful Christian family gave me a place of belonging at their table. Even after I broke up with my boyfriend, this family did not break up with me. They mentored me throughout my high school and college days. They knew I needed a place at their table of faith and the kindness they showed me changed my faith journey.


One Response to “Room at the Table”

  1. Mary says:

    What a precious story of love and inclusion. What a precious family. You were Blessed!

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