When I think of my dream dinner party, there are a number of guests that I imagine around the table. I think of close friends that I haven’t seen in a while, my sisters, and maybe a collection of celebrities and popular figures that I admire. I think of those crazy car commercials with Matthew McConaughey, where a small gathering of people sit back and laugh at his witty comments and admire his pool shooting skills. I don’t necessarily think of enjoying a meal with criminals, outcasts, or those on the outskirts of society. However, that is exactly the kind of dinner party that Jesus enjoyed on multiple occasions.
Day 1 of “Come to the Table” from By the Well 4 God provides a glimpse into one of the first dinner gatherings held by Jesus at the beginning of his ministry.
And as Jesus reclined at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ But, when he heard it, he said, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.'” -Matthew 9:10-13
His newly called disciples were invited to join him in this ministry. He called them to not only be surrounded by this crew of tax collectors and sinners, but to embrace the fact that they belonged in this group. Through Jesus, the disciples were learning to embrace their brokenness so that their hearts would open to the message of salvation that Jesus brought. We are called to do the same thing! Jesus isn’t just calling us to come to the table to sit alongside all the other sinners that are there, but to truly embrace our place at this table and our need for the great gift that He brings. I can only imagine what it felt like to be in the presence of Jesus. The honor alone would have been overwhelming. I gladly accept Jesus’ invitation to “come to the table” because I know that the invitation He is extending does not have crazy strings attached. I don’t have to be anyone that I am not. I don’t have to get “fancy” or be the most “righteous” person in the room. Very much the opposite! Jesus wants us to face and embrace our shortcomings because those are the places that He is glorified.
My plan is to journal much of this devotional in the coordinating traveler’s notebook that BTW4G has available, but I could not resist jumping over to my Bible for this entry. The thought of the invitation was something that I really wanted to embrace on this page. I took to Pinterest and looked up directions for how to fold your own envelope. Using a piece of linen resumé paper, it took a few tries to come up with an envelope I was happy with, but it finally worked out.
The next step involved an array of Distress Oxides and a Tim Holtz stencil to put down a background on the page. Distress Oxides are PERFECT for this kit because they really reflect the vintage, steampunk feel of the kit. I used the brick stencil to lay down three areas of Distress inks on the page. I also used the ink to distress the sides of the ephemera pieces I planned on using as well as creating a more aged look over the top of each piece. In the end, I also decided to ink up the edges of my envelope to tie it in to the vintage feel as well.
Before I placed the ephemera pieces on the page, I decided I wanted to incorporate some additional stamped images on the background. The stamp sets from BTW4G this month are phenomenal, and I really had to hold myself back from buying all of them! The gears, stamped in matching Distress Oxide inks, adding a little more detail and interest to my background.
The rest of the page came together very quickly, once I adhered the ephemera pieces and envelope to the page. I addressed the “invitation” to the “motley crew of misfits” using a tag piece that came as an extra in the goody bag that comes in the kit. I added the title of “Come As You Are” using the Chalkboard alpha stamps as a reminder that Jesus doesn’t need us to pretend to be anyone that we are not. He wants us to come and sit with Him exactly as we are. It is because of our brokenness that we need Him so much, so there is not a need to try to cover any of that up!
I am so excited to continue working through this devotional. I feel like this is going to be such an excellent way to prepare my heart for the Easter season, embracing the gift of salvation that Jesus offers to all of us. The devotional content already has me lingering longer on passages that I have read many times over, listening to the whispers of what God is speaking. I’m loving it!
Keep it creative,
-The Scrappy Wife