“Bring it to the table.”
You might hear the phrase in any one of several settings.
A project manager where you work might say, “Bring it to the table.” He means you have an idea or a concern that should be examined and discussed. Until a problem is “brought to the table,” it can’t be solved.
The Lord’s table is a safe place. You can bring your messiness and brokenness. You can bring your problems and worries. One of the most comforting descriptions of Jesus (although originally offered as a criticism) was, “He eats with sinners.” Sometimes a person who is considering becoming a Christian says something like, “I need to clean up my act. Then perhaps Jesus would accept me.” Sometimes a Christian judges himself, thinking, I’ve really messed up this week. I better not take Communion.
The meal offered at the Lord’s table drives home the point that our personal perfection and purity are not prerequisites for dining with Jesus. He said the cup we drink “is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28). Bring your flaws and failures to the Lord’s table. You will always “receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
A mediator might say, “Bring it to the table.” He intends to resolve a dispute. He oversees negotiation involving compromise and trading. You must be willing to offer to give up something or do something in exchange for whatever the other party is bringing to the table.
The Lord’s table is a place of exchange. There is, however, no negotiation or compromise. Jesus is the host. He makes the offer. Trade your sin for my righteousness. Trade your guilt for freedom. The exchange takes place when you bring yourself to the table, admitting your need.
A hostess might say, “Bring it to the table.” She could be referring to your appetite. She has prepared a wonderful meal and she wants you to enjoy it.
The Lord’s table is a place of satisfaction. When I bring my thirst for connection to him, I receive refreshment. When I bring my longing to be reminded of his forgiveness and freedom, I am filled with peace.
Come to his table today, bringing your failures, trading them for his righteousness, eager to be filled with his peace. Come to the table.
Nancy Karpenske is women’s ministry director at LifeBridge Christian Church in Longmont, Colorado.