What to bring to the table?

Published 9:32 am Wednesday, November 22, 2017

By the time this is published Thanksgiving Day will have passed. It is our hope at Fitzgerald Memorial Baptist that you had a peaceful and joyous Thanksgiving celebration with friends and family. I envision people passing the potatoes, but also sharing a laugh. I envision a table of peace, of laughter, of harmony, of sharing and of trust, friendship and confidence.

Unfortunately, that vision is simply my imagination. The reality is that some tables may have been empty due to poverty. Some will be empty due to loved ones being lost. Some will be empty because bitterness exists among the family members.

Then again the table may be full. The table may be full, but may also be full of bickering.

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The table may be full, but it may be sprinkled with anger or hostility or jealousy.

For some people, some individuals, some families, Thanksgiving brings no joy. There is no sharing or selflessness or having communion with one another.

They have the same opportunity as other families and other individuals. They could probably break bread with another person or group of people, but something else is in the way. Something is stopping them from sitting at that table with another person or other people.

So our question becomes, “What am I bringing to the table?” When we sit down or stand across from the face of another individual, what is it we are “bringing to the table?”

Am I bringing peace or hostility? Am I bringing hope or desperation? Am I bringing anger or forgiveness? Love or hatred? What is it I bring to the table when I come before a friend, enemy, a stranger and estranged loved one?

Paul encourages the church body with these words found in Philippians 2:1-4

“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

What I bring to the table to share with you is this thought: If you have any encouragement, comfort, tenderness, compassion or love and can put aside any selfishness, conceit, or negativity, this holiday season, then please do so. What we bring to the table makes all the difference in showing others who we are and what we are made of. If we want our “tables” (our lives) to be full of peace, joy, love and forgiveness, then we need to first bring those things to the table ourselves.

Rev. Barry Vassar is pastor at Fitzgerald Memorial Baptist. He can be reached at fitzgeraldmemorial@gmail.com