Really, there’s not much I remember about why I was there or when I was there or even who was with me. I think it was probably a band field trip up to Pennsylvania for a music competition.
But here’s what I do remember, walking into a large open room surrounded by windows and seeing table after table covered in crisp, bleached white tablecloths, each one set with an elaborate place-setting that included multiple forks and spoons.
I’m just a teenage-ish girl away from home with a bunch of other middle schoolers about to eat at a place far nicer than our normal class trip stops at McDonald’s or Wendy’s.
Even now, I’m the kind of girl who eats at restaurants where kids can get their drinks in styrofoam cups with lids and straws.
(Okay, maybe I can get my drink in that styrofoam cup).
This place was an intimidating beast of a dining room with significant glassware and cloth napkins.
What was I doing there?
I grew up in a home where we learned table manners, so I knew how to put my napkin on my lap and not lean on the table with my elbows.
But, I’ll still never forget that initial feeling of walking into such a fancy place and thinking, “I get to eat here? There’s not some back room for middle school girls from the suburbs?”
Maybe you’ve never felt out of place or like a small and insignificant girl feeling a little overwhelmed and a lot like you don’t belong there.
But I sure have.
I’ve felt uncomfortable and unworthy.
I’ve felt humbled and speechless and afraid to make one wrong move because maybe they’ll figure out the truth: that I’m an imposter who doesn’t deserve to be here.
So, as I was studying the book of Ruth and reading Kelly Minter’s book, I just wished so desperately I could pour myself a cup of tea and this amazing author could pour herself a cup of coffee and we could chat because Kelly got ‘it.’
She got everything about how it feels to be an imposter welcomed to a table.
Ruth 2:14 says:
And at mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here and eat some bread and dip your morsel in the wine.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her roasted grain. And she ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over.
Up to this point in the book of Ruth, the author has made a huge, whopping, big deal about the fact that Ruth is a foreign woman. Even worse, she’s a Moabite foreign woman.
She didn’t even deserve to glean in the fields of Boaz and certainly wasn’t worthy of anyone’s notice, especially not someone as wealthy and powerful as Boaz.
Yet, after months of watching Ruth’s hard work and seeing her faithful care for her mother-in-law, Boaz invites her to the table with his employees and blesses her with abundance.
She eats everything she could eat and still had leftovers.
Immediately, I thought of how much this sounded like Mephibosheth, the crippled son of Jonathan whom King David invited to share the king’s table night after night.
(Kelly Minter thought the same thing. I’m telling you, we were totally clicking that day!)
Mephibosheth was the grandson of King Saul. When David became king, everyone expected him to kill anyone left alive in Saul’s family.
Instead, David seeks out Mephibosheth and longs to show him kindness.
And, crippled as he was, Jonathan’s son couldn’t even get to the king’s table on his own.
He would have to be carried.
Kelly Minter writes,
I believe we all deeply long to be invited ‘to the table.’ It represents all things that speak belonging, acceptance, and the honor of being chosen. It is a picture of intimacy, conversation, nourishment, and safety (Ruth, p. 76).
You and I, as unbelievable as it may seem, are invited to a table of abundance.
Revelation 19:9 says:
Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb (ESV).
How blessed indeed are we as believers to receive this invitation? Christ Himself spreads out a feast and asks us to come to the table.
It’s an invitation we don’t deserve, not on our own merit or strength anyway.
We’re like Ruth—foreigners. We’re the lowly and the poor. We’re the outcasts and the outsiders.
Like Mephibosheth, we’re crippled and broken and we can’t even make it to the table all on our own.
We need Jesus.
He covers us with His righteousness. He dresses us in the pure robes of His forgiveness.
And, He bids us come and eat.
“Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory” (Revelation 19:7 ESV).
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.