Something that can be hard for me to keep in mind when I struggle to get through each day is this idea from the book Life Together that I’ve been reading. The author is talking about the “fellowship of the table,” or the idea of community around a table while we share our food:

… the fellowship acknowledges that all earthly gifts are given to it only for Christ’s sake, as this whole world is sustained only for the sake of Jesus Christ, his Word, and his message. He is the true bread of life. He is not only the giver but the gift itself, for whose sake all earthly gifts exist. Only because the message concerning Jesus Chris must still go forth and find believers, and because our task is not yet perfected, does God in His patience continue to sustain us with His good gifts” (Bonhoeffer, 1954, p. 66).

How easy hard [oops] it is when we’re struggling just to make ends meet each day to remember that everything we have is a gift from God to use to get the message of Jesus out to everyone. Sometimes it’s too easy for me to think of what I have in terms of money, time, or food as mine. It’s not really mine though is it? It’s God’s money, time, or food, and my responsibility is to use it to tell others about Jesus and the eternal life He offer. Sometimes as I sit in a coffee shop and think about the $2 I just spent on a tea and wonder if that money could have been better spent buying some boxes of food to give to the poor. Or if when I’m too lazy or tired to cook food at home and I buy something on the way home, if that money could have been better spent feeding a few people for a few days. I have a friend who reminds me that by being in the coffee shop, I have had the opportunity to talk to others about Christ and to also make two good Christian friends that I would not have known otherwise. I don’t mean to beat myself or anyone else up over how they spend money, but it makes me wonder sometimes if I am spending it with this idea in mind.

I am reminded of this prayer that Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane:

24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

These three verses really blow me away when I think about what they really mean, at least to me. “… that the love with which You loved Me may be in them…” The idea that we have the same love in us with which God loved Jesus is just astonishing to me. I think this is the love that is trying to surface when we see someone in need and we stop our life in order to try and help them overcome their situation. Sometimes we allow it to surface for awhile, sometimes people are really attuned to it and are always helping someone, and sometimes we stifle it by being self-focused.

My goal, not only for this month of Thanksgiving, but also for the rest of my life, is to keep the concepts in this paragraph in mind:

The table of fellowship of Christians implies obligation. It is our daily bread that we eat, not my own. We share our bread. Thus we are firmly bound to one another not only in the Spirit but in our whole physical being. The one bread that is given to our fellowship links us together in a firm covenant. Now none dares go hungry as long as another has bread, and he who breaks this fellowship of the physical life also breaks the fellowship of the Spirit. ‘Deal thy bread to the hungry’ (Isa. 58:7)” (Bonhoeffer, 1954, p. 68).

— Bonhoeffer, D. (1954). Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

–The New King James Version. 1982 (Jn 17:24-26). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

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