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Today is the day before Thanksgiving in the United States of America. Many of us are busy preparing food for our dinner and all of us should be preparing our hearts for the holiday. Thanksgiving provides us the opportunity to set aside a particular day to focus upon those things for which we are especially thankful. While food will fill our stomachs, gratitude to the Lord will fill our souls for His ample provision and protection. Today, I want to combine thoughts of preparing food and preparing our hearts. Let’s focus upon the table the Lord prepares for us. While I may be busy preparing physical food for a special day, the Lord prepares spiritual food for us every day.
You (the Lord) prepare a table before me . . . .
What does the table the Lord prepares look like? I think of the table as being the communion table. When Jesus shared the Passover meal with His disciples, He instituted the Last Supper known today as the sacrament of communion. Matthew 26:26-28 says, “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is My body.’ Then He took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.’” The table and elements of communion portray Jesus’ broken body and spilled blood (the bread and wine/grape juice) upon the cross (the table).
In comparison to the dinner table, the communion table has greater significance. While gathering with His disciples for the Passover meal, Jesus showed us an example of gratitude. He gave thanks for the bread and the wine before He shared it with His disciples. We must make it a priority to give thanks to God for our blessings before we eat the food on our Thanksgiving table tomorrow.
Does the Lord offer additional “food” at His table? The bread and the wine/grape juice of the communion table are the best “food” because they symbolize Jesus. However, I want to consider some additional spiritual food. First, there is milk and meat. Hebrews 5:12-13 says, “by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the nature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” Some Bible translations say “solid food” but the King James Version says “meat.” Meat is the word I want to consider. Milk and meat can refer to physical food, but what does the writer of Hebrews mean? According to translations of the Greek language, “milk” is gala meaning the basic teachings of true Christianity and “meat” is broma describing the deeper spiritual doctrine of the Gospel. Fruit is also available. Galatians 5:22-23 describes this fruit, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”
Now I want to compare the food I am preparing for Thanksgiving dinner to spiritual food. The Lord’s milk is not the same as the milk in the refrigerator. Neither is spiritual meat like the turkey I am preparing to put in the oven. God’s milk and meat fill a spiritual hunger while my milk and turkey only curb physical hunger for a few hours. Although my cranberries and apples are tasty fruits, they are not nearly as life-giving as the fruit of the Spirit. Jesus, as the Bread of Life, is more satisfying than the yeast rolls I am baking.
What does the Lord ask of us regarding the table He has prepared? Psalm 34:8 invites us to “Taste and see that the LORD is good.” We can be refreshed and satisfied when we are in His presence. Also, the foods placed upon His holy table allow us to savor spiritual food. Psalm 119:103 says, “How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” What a delightful table the Lord prepares for us! His bountiful table is available 365 days a year while my Thanksgiving table is prepared only one day of the year.
Today is the day of preparing food and hearts for the Thanksgiving holiday. Tomorrow our family will gather around the table to eat the food I have prepared. Before we eat, we will take time to bow our heads and offer a prayer of thanksgiving. We will continue to express gratitude throughout our conversation during the meal. We will “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever” according to Psalm 107:1. We will also be thankful for the spiritual table where we can gather throughout the year.