This is another blog about the ministry of Zach Williams at Harding prison. As I watch the video of Zach singing “At the Table,” it was moving to watch men in prayer and worship. I couldn’t help but wonder how these hardened inmates were processing the invitation to come to the table. The implication was that Jesus welcomes each one of them just the way they are.
I was drawn to the story of Zacchaeus, the tax collector, in Luke 19:1-ff. Being a short man and a disliked as a tax collector, Zacchaeus had a rather low view of himself when it came to being in the presence of Jesus. He climbed up into a tree to just get a longing glimpse of Jesus as he passed by.
To his surprise, Jesus stops, look up at poor Zacchaeus and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down. Today is my day to be a guest in your home.” We read, “Zacchaeus scrambled out of the tree, hardly believing his good luck, delighted to take Jesus home with him” (Luke 19:5-6 MSG).
The locals could not grasp this kind of openness displayed by Jesus. “Everyone who saw the incident was indignant and grumped, ‘What business does he have getting cozy with this crook?'” (Luke 19:7 MSG). Remember a performance orientated culture will never begin to comprehend the generosity and compassion of the love of God.
Zacchaeus is overwhelmed by the presence of Jesus. It made him what to change his ways. Jesus tells us, “Today is salvation day in this home! Here he is: Zacchaeus, son of Abraham! For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost” (Luke 19:9-10 MSG). Zacchaeus was not Jewish, yet Jesus welcomed him as a son of Abraham. His whole identity as a man was changed in that moment.
You might feel like Zacchaeus as you read this post. Jesus is inviting you to the table. Here is the words to the refrain of Zack’s song: “So bring it all to the table/There’s nothing He ain’t seen before/For all your fear, all your sorrow and your sadness/There’s a Savior and He calls/Bring it all to the table.”
I remember a table I used to sit at, way back when I was a young pastor in Babbit, Minn. It was at the home of Woody Uppman. Often on my day off, I would just go and hang out with Woody. He was a retired miner who accepted me just as I was. I felt like I could share my real self with Woody. I was able to go back to my work as a parish pastor, better prepared, because Woody made me feel like I could do the job. There was always room at Woody’s table for a insecure, arrogant young man like myself.
Maybe you don’t have a older father figure, with whom you can just share your heart. But just remember Jesus invites you to the table. Come as you are, not as you think you should be.
My advice is simple; it comes from years of trying to impress Jesus. Be real and honest not only with your thoughts but your emotions and desires as well. He already know them all. Just tell it to Jesus. Then learn to be still and silent so you can hear him give you the words of affirmation. You are his beloved, simply because he loves you for who you are and not what you do.
Remember! This could be for you today! There is room at the table for you. Jesus is waiting for you to come home.