What do you bring to the table?

Table 1

Life is a veritable smorgasbord of activity, much of it good; however, a fair amount bad, too. Imagine a table amid a void and it’s been placed there for you at the time of your birth. As you journey through life, there will be countless delights brought to the table for you to feast upon. These appetizers and entrees will sometimes be comprised of literal nutrients for your pleasure. You’ll attend banquets, dinners, potlucks, as well as consume your fair amount of junk food items. Life will also dish up goodies for your emotional and spiritual enrichment. In the words of Jesus, “Man does not live by bread alone…”

table 4

Walking through life as long I have, I realize that far too many of us are not as thankful as we should be. This isn’t meant to be judgmental, but more an observation of self and others. There have been countless times when I have heard people say I’ve been going to that church for a long time, and I just don’t think I’m getting the spiritual food I need. Then, when you observe people who make these kinds of remarks, you notice that they have primarily been “bench warmers”. They come to the gathering irregularly; they don’t become members of any groups; they offer very little in the form of human capital; and their financial support might be practically nil. However, it’s not in the church alone do we see this kind of dynamic. We see these words of lament, without ceasing, from folks everywhere. They painfully proclaim that things just aren’t the way they’re supposed to be. And then you wait for some suggestions about how to make them better, and you wait, and you wait.

Table 2

I think I’ve become much more observant of complainers in my old age. Before you ask whether I’m one myself, let me confess; I do offer the occasional dish of bitter lemons. However, I think I’ve gotten somewhat better. One thing I do know is that the table provided for each of us at birth is better spread with items that sustain and enrich life, not drain the energy from it. There are few of us, when looking at a worldwide scale, who can always bring the best ideas to the table, but we can participate in the brainstorming where ideas are given birth. We can offer of ourselves in service to others. We can offer love, understanding, support and fellowship to souls who have no one to turn to. In these seemingly harsh times in which we are living, we can speak up amid the groups who are verbally abusing others for the mere reason that they don’t look like them. We can, without shame, always wear our humanity like a badge of courage.

table 3

Remember the golden rule?: Do unto others a you would have them do unto you. I find myself thinking more these days about the platinum rule: Do unto others as their wants and needs require. The former is limited to each of us looking at the world through our personal lenses. How do we know that what satisfies us will do the same for someone else? The latter, however, demonstrates an earnest interest in the other person; compassion for them and what we need to deliver to their table.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.

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