“And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life.”Matthew 19:29 (NLT)
I picked up a friend of mine yesterday to go out for coffee and catch up on our lives. Since I had last seen her, she had married and moved to the other side of the country. We were so happy to reconnect and share our journeys.
She asked me, in light of the fact that we have not had a home of our own in a while, where all my stuff was.
My stuff? I thought for a minute. My bed. My desk. My clothes… most of them. But mostly, I thought of my table.
We celebrated so many wonderful meals and occasions around that table. Friday night Shabbat, birthdays, Passover, Easters, Christmas’s, and hundreds of other wonderful times. We had etched secret signs in the grains, scratched past the wax and into the wood, just for us. The memories in that table ran deep.
I stopped and smiled. I didn’t have it anymore.
“What!?” Julie opened her giant green eyes wider.
“Well Julie,” I began. “We have been on a train where the Lord has been the conductor. It’s not been easy. But we are holding on. We’ve risked a lot.”
Risking my table. Risking a lot of other things.
Scary word, I know. But you can’t stay on God’s train bound for divine destiny unless you risk. It’s the cost of the ticket.
Long ago, we lived in Los Angeles and came across a local business that made beautiful furniture out of pine. I have always loved old pine European furniture and designed an enormous table for our dining room. They built it exactly to my specifications. It was beautiful.
And then, the sound of the train whistle blew. And there was no room to take all of the furniture along. But I made sure that my table made it. The chug of the engine, the puff of steam. We were off.
The train stopped and we all got off, surveying what we expected would be our new home, but before we could settle in, the whistle blew again.
This time, the ticket did not cover baggage. There wasn’t room for furniture on the next leg of the trip.
I had a choice, I could leave my stuff and get back on the God-led adventure, or stay. I had always told the Lord that when He said go, I would go. His will, not mine. But when it came time to pare down my stuff once more, it was much harder than I thought it would be.
I was not ready to say goodbye to the family table. I wanted to confirmation from the Holy Spirit.
Out of nowhere, a friend showed up at my front door. “Tamara, let me take your furniture. I’ll hold onto it until you get back from wherever He sends you.”
I heard the Holy Spirit whisper in my ear, “Go on Tamara. You can do it. Trust me. To reach where you are going, you sometimes have to shed extra weight. Extra tables… Maybe forever. Let him take it.”
I saw our friend drive away with my table and all the other pieces of furniture that had made it through the first stage of our journey, and I wondered why I had clung to that table so tightly.
It was the memories. What it stood for.
“I’m what it stood for Tamara,” the Holy Spirit whispered. “Communion. Celebration. Family. Hope. You always have me. Hold on to me. Let the rest go. See what I will give you in return.”
It’s been a year or two since that day. And I’m still on the train. I won’t get off until I reach my final destination.
I might see my table again. I might not. I might get a new table made. I’m looking forward to what God has for me, new memories, new communion, more celebrations, fulfilled promises.
And in the meantime, we’ve been dining on Him, abundantly fed, marvelously comforted, always satisfied.