The Banquet Table

  • May 19, 2010
  • #7318

For me, sitting at a table... it ain't easy!

That's right, it's the truth.  I'm Joni Eareckson Tada and as you know, I sit in a wheelchair, and there are plenty of times it's a real challenge to fit underneath someone's dining room table or a restaurant table.  I have wheeled up to more than many tables and either my knees bump the edge because the table is too low or my foot pedals hit a center post.  I mean, you ought to see me in a restaurant - sometimes my husband Ken has to unhook one of my foot pedals and swing it aside so I can move in close enough, but if he can't do that and there's no other table, then - well - he has to feed me my meal (although a few times I've been able to put a pillow on my lap and balance the plate on it so I can feed myself).  All this is not very easy on Ken, but God has blessed him with a lot of grace to help me (wow, a husband feeding his wife in a restaurant; no wonder we get funny looks)... anyway, Ken is able to help and think nothing of it.

I remember one time when I was in a restaurant and when the maitre'd saw I couldn't fit under the table, he felt so bad.  He really wanted to help.  Suddenly you could almost see a light bulb go on over his head - he quickly ran and got four phone books and put them under each of the legs of the table.  Voile! Within minutes, I was able to easily fit and, boy, you could see the delight in that man's face - I could tell he felt so happy to have been of service and help to me!

You know, I think about this whenever I read Luke 14 where Jesus says, "When you give a banquet, invite the crippled, the lame and the blind and you will be blessed."  I love picturing that scene.  I mean, if you ever threw a dinner party for a bunch of blind, lame and paralyzed people, I think you'd discover real fast that it's not easy.  A lot would be required of you and your family and it might even be an uncomfortable experience fitting all those wheelchairs around a table with everybody's foot pedals clunking and colliding underneath - maybe even a few people would have to sit at a distance and either be fed like me or balance a plate on their laps.  If blind people were sitting at your table, you'd have to describe where everything is.  It would be an unusual banquet to say the least.  You'd have to hang loose, be flexible, go the extra mile, and not expect the dinner party to be typical or normal.  But you know what, that's good.  The whole point of serving people with disabilities in Luke 14 is to show that it's as much for the person throwing the dinner party as it is for the disabled person sitting at the table.  After all, Luke 14 says "Do this" and you - that's right, friend - you will be blessed.

Think of that maitre'd in the restaurant.  Look how blessed he was to help and serve.  It did him a world of good to exhibit a little bit of flexibility and to go the extra mile.  I tell you, it's a lesson to remember as you and your church reach out to the lame, the blind, and the disabled - it may take extra work and a little creative thinking, but as you do it, your church will be blessed.  And one way you can serve and help is to give a little booklet we've put together called "Disability:  When it First Touches Your Family."  It's packed full of resources, referrals, web links, and lots of other information to help a mom and dad over the hump when they first learn their child has a handicapping condition.  So let me hear from you today at joniandfriendsradio.org or you can always call toll-free 888-522-5664 and ask for today's booklet on disability information.  Call or click on my webpage today - 'cause it's the Luke chapter 14 thing to do.

©  Joni and Friends

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