You open your mail, and there it is—an invitation to dine with the President of the United States. Or a member of Parliament. Or a foreign ambassador. Or the president of a Fortune 500 company.
How do you respond?
My first thought would be, what in the world am I going to wear? Then I’d wonder what will I talk about? What if I sound stupid? I might even wonder what if I don’t know which fork to use or drop something in my lap?
I have a friend who has trained hundreds of people in the fine art and etiquette of dining with the rich and famous. I don’t know if she’s ever coached someone invited to dine with the Queen, but I know she’s helped more than a few nervous Nellies prepare for White House dinners.
I thought about my friend Carolyn today when I read about a man who received an invitation to dine with the king. Unlike some of the people Carolyn has trained, this man isn’t completely ignorant of the protocol that surrounds political get-togethers. He is the grandson of a deposed monarch and has early memories of the pomp and circumstance that surrounds the arrival of heads of state to the royal palace.
But times changed. The political coup that killed his father and grandfather threatened him, too. Fleeing under cover of darkness, the nurse who had spirited him away stumbled, crushing both his feet under her considerable weight. He’s limped painfully ever since.
But life isn’t all bad.
Despite his disability, he married and started a family--a fine boy and a wife who loves him despite his limitations. They’ve kept a low profile. Nobody connects the crippled man with the bright child he’d once been, trained and poised to one day inherit the throne.
He knows the glory days are long past. Never again will he eat in grand style from the king’s table. These days, it’s a challenge just to feed his family and not be a burden on the kind friends who have taken them in. Dreaming about what could have been does him no good. His approach is simple: Keep your head down, avoid questions, and don’t call attention to yourself.
Until the invitation comes. The king has summoned you to appear before him.
He’s heard stories of what conquering kings do to the families of those they’ve vanquished. As the king’s guard waits, sunlight glinting off the sharp point of his spear, he hugs his son, kisses his wife, and closes the door behind him.
Every walk he takes is awkward and slow, but today’s shuffling journey to the throne room seems to take hours. Fear makes him stumble once, then again. The sweat that trickles from his brow drips into his eyes, clouding his vision. Bowing low before the king, he wonders, what does it feel like to have your head cut off? Lord, in your mercy, make it quick.
But the blade never comes. Instead, he hears words he never expected to hear.
"Don't be afraid, for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table" (2 Sam. 9:7).
You will always eat at my table.
Amazing grace. Undeserved favor. Bountiful provision.
“And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king's table, and he was crippled in both feet” (2 Sam. 9:7).
The Bible story of Mephibosheth has become one of my favorites, because his story is my story, too.
I, too, was crippled when I ran from the King. With every act of selfishness, pride, and independence, my soul became more and more deformed. I deserved death because my self-centered disobedience defied the one who ruled the universe. Undeniably guilty, I knew I had offended the holy and perfect God who made me.
“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
“For the wages of sin is death,”
Broken, hopeless, and afraid, I joined Mephibosheth as he bowed before the King and said, "What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?" (2 Sam. 9:8)
But in his mercy, my King didn’t give me what I deserved.
Instead, he extended his hand of grace and forgiveness in the form of his Son, Jesus Christ. He invited me to sit at his table all the days of my life. He adopted me into his family and promised to love and care for me forever.
What about you? Can you identify with Mephibosheth and with me? Have you been hiding? Hiding from others, hiding from your circumstances, hiding from God? If so, I have good news. You don’t have to run anymore. The King has extended an invitation: “Do not be afraid, for I will surely show you kindness . . .”
If you’d like to know more about what it means to have a relationship with God, receive forgiveness for your sins, and know for sure you’ll spend eternity with him in heaven one day, CLICK HERE. And if you already have a relationship with the King, why not share this post with someone you care about. I’d love to tell them about the place at the table God has set just for them.
And if you're within driving distance of Columbia, SC, TAKE NOTICE.
Do you enjoy writing? Do you suspect that God might be calling you to do something with your ability? Do you have words, stories, and ideas that you wish you could communicate better to others? Whether you're an embryonic writer, a toddler writer, or an all grown up and married writer, I'd like you invite you to attend the Lexington chapter of Word Weavers' Summer Writing Workshop on Saturday, July 23.
Teaching by industry professionals, relevant and practical topics, and a CHICK FIL A lunch--it doesn't get any better. I'll be teaching two workshops, "10 Mistakes that Make Magazine Editors Say No" and "Let It Go -- Why It Pays to Give Your Writing Away." Don't wait. There's a rock-bottom price for early registrants.
Click HERE for all the glorious details.