Fences & Tables
Fences & Tables
Somebody once said, “When you have more than you need, build a longer table not a higher fence.” That beautiful quote has a powerful punch between the eyes.
There’s lot’s of conversation in our world about fences, and lots of opinions about who belongs on which side of the fence. In its simplest form, a fence can do good things for people and society. It can provide a visual of a boundary, or keep your pets from escaping, or provide security for your family. Yet, in its most complex form, a fence can prevent you from leaving or keep others from entering. The fence in and of itself is not good or bad…it is the moral compass of those who build the fence that determine its intent.
What happens when a society so focused on walls and fences begins to apply that same guarded mentality to multiple aspects of life? How does that type of thinking start to influence our own behaviors?
Years ago, I lived in a fence-less neighborhood. We had ducks, squirrels, trees and lush grass, but the prettiest part of the yard was that it didn’t have a fence. You could see into everyone’s back yard and front yard throughout the neighborhood—the nicely manicured yards and the not so manicured yards. Without any obstructions, you could truly see the terrain and the beauty of the landscape.
What would it be like if we could see into the terrain of relationships, co-workers, and friends? It would be difficult to keep the “un-manicured” secrets hidden from one another. All of a sudden our “ guarded lifestyle” would be exposed! But it could also be freeing to rid the fences from our lives—to not have to keep our hurts, struggles, and difficulties hidden. When we let our guards down, we discover transparency and honesty.
I personally don’t need any more fences in my life; I want more tables, longer tables. Tables are gathering places. Tables are places to sit beside friends rather than looking at them from the constraints of our fences. Tables cultivate conversations, while fences create accusations. Tables are places of vulnerability and healing, while fences guard our secrets and imprison our dreams.
I want to be like Jesus, who shared his table. I want more tables where I work. I want longer tables for more friends. I want to share my table with those who are hurting. I want others to know how beautiful it is to sit at the table of Jesus, break bread, lean on his heart, and feel his peace.
I am willing to leap some walls, tear down fences, and build more tables…because this…this is what love does!
What about you? Are you building fences only to discover that you’re the one in prison, or are you welcoming friends and visitors to sit at your table? Why not look outside of yourself, remove a few planks from your fence, and lengthen your table…today.
Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. Luke 14:21-23