The past few weeks, my personal devotions have been focused on the story of David and Mephibosheth in 2 Samuel chapter 9. I encourage you to read that whole chapter to see the full story. David had lost King Saul, and his best friend Jonathan a few chapters before. David is now the king of all Israel. He is probably busy with many different things. Still, he decides to spend time trying to see if anyone is left in the house of Saul that he could show kindness to for Jonathan's sake. We only hear of 1 son of Jonathan remaining, Mephibosheth.
Now, to me he doesn’t look that special. One of the few things we know about him is that he is lame in both legs, so cannot get around on his own. We don’t know if he has any family, besides a son mentioned later in chapter nine. I see, Mephibosheth as ordinary. Trying to live a quiet life, out of the spotlight. He probably lost his chance to become king when his legs became lame. A guy who is struggling just to get by.
I imagine him trying to stay hidden from King David. If you remember, Saul got very jealous, angry, and afraid of David later in life. A few times, King Saul tried to kill him. My guess is that Mephibosheth knows the history of David and his Grandfather Saul. He is brought before King, waiting nervously to see what David will do. Can you even imagine the fear Mephibosheth must be going through?
David said, “Mephibosheth!”[b] He answered, “I am your servant.” 7 David said to him, “Do not be afraid, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan; I will restore to you all the land of your grandfather Saul, and you yourself shall eat at my table always.” 8 He did obeisance and said, “What is your servant, that you should look upon a dead dog such as I?”
As I said before, and as Mephibosheth admits here, he is not that important. There is nothing that David owes him, or his family. There is no reason for David to fear him trying to take control away. Why does David show all this kindness? He does it out of love. Out of love, and respect for his best friend Jonathan who was taken away from him much too soon. Not only does David restore to Mephibosheth all the land of his grandfather Saul, but he also invites him, and his son to eat at his table.
This is a table that is reserved for only the king’s family. In this gesture, David is pretty much adopting Mephibosheth and his son Micah into his own royal family. There is nothing he has done to deserve this. It’s because David chooses to show him kindness. Micah and him always ate at David’s table from then on.
This story reminds me so much of another king, and another table. This table, a Heavenly one. And the King? He is the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords. He has the table set, the banquet is ready. He is waiting for the guests to arrive. If God symbolizes King David in this story, then we symbolize Mephibosheth. Maybe we’re not lame in both legs, but we are beaten down, worn out, damaged by our sin. Like Mephibosheth, we feel unworthy to be in God’s presence. But like King David, God loves us enough to look past that. God comes, cleans us off, so we can be with him. We can never be good enough on our own. Because of God’s love for us, we are invited to sit at the table of the King.
It would be easy to stop here, and leave everyone happy and comfortable, but this is not the end. This table, God’s table is not just meant for the few people in this world who look and act like we do. It is not a table meant for just those who agree with us. No, God’s table is meant for ALL people. Not everyone will accept His invitation, but everyone is invited.
We live in a world where it is easy to fear what we don’t understand. We hear rumors about people different than we are. Instead of taking some time, and inviting them into conversation, some become afraid, and treat them like they don’t exist. I believe that all that these people want is for their voices to be heard. To be able to defend what they believe. To be in conversation about how we are the same, before discussing our differences. To have a place at the table. It seems that many times, that the voices I don't agree with, become silent to me.
I started at Bdecan over 5 ½ years ago. I still remember attending a service here the day before I started. After the service, we had a potluck meal (as we do every Sunday). Once the kids got done eating, they all left the fellowship room. As I finished up, I thought I would go and see what they were up to. They were all playing in the sanctuary. Watching them thoughts began filling my head. I was a middle aged white guy in a congregation of Native American kids. I looked very different than they did. Would these kids listen to me? Would they respect me? Would they accept me into this community? I soon found that I had nothing to worry about. As I entered the sanctuary, the kids were absolutely all over me. They wanted to jump on me, hang on me, get hugs, just be with me. More than anything, they wanted someone who took time out of their day, to be with them. Over the years, I have grown to love this community, and the people here, and be loved by them.
Through your support of Bdecan, you have allowed us to invite many children to Christ’ table. Some of the kids, youth, and families that are served here, may not feel welcomed to God’s table, without us. Because of you, we can provide a safe place for these kids, away from the tough realities that some of them live in. We provide a meal for them, a meal they some may not ordinarily get. We give them a chance to play, to create, to just be kids. We let them know that they are accepted, important, and that they belong, just the way they are. Most of all, we share with them time and time again that they are loved, and nothing can ever change that. In a world where many seem to still not be heard, I am so blessed to be where I am.
There are many others out in the world who are not as lucky as this. People who don’t have a place, and who don’t have a voice. People who are wondering where their next meal is going to come from. As we enter this time of Thanksgiving and leading up to the birthday of our Lord and Savior in December, I want you to think about this question. Who are you inviting to the table this Holiday season? it's more than just a physical table.
Who are you inviting into conversation? Who will you invite to share their story with you, maybe for the first time? It’s more about just inviting our close friends, and people who agree with us. It’s about inviting the otherwise uninvited. It's about inviting the least of these!
My name is Joe Obermeyer. I am the Youth and Outreach Coordinator at Bdecan Presbyterian Church.