Room at the Table




Ramblings on Faith



The Thanksgiving holiday is great. It might be the one day of the year when no one is worried about their health. It is the one day of the year where you feel less than satisfied if you come away from the table anything other than bloated. Full isn’t enough on Thanksgiving; miserable is the order of the day. The weird thing is that getting miserable is somewhat enjoyable! And, if you get miserable before desert then you know you are in big trouble and you love every minute of it.

My mom always started cooking the night before. The turkey went into the oven before she went to bed, which may attribute to the fact it was always dry. But I think my dad liked it that way and now I sort of like it that way too.


The big project for my mom every year was the stuffing or otherwise referred to as the dressing. I never ate my mother’s dressing, mostly because it had onions in it. I was totally anti-onion growing up. I can stand a few today, but still not a fan. Of course, even being able to stand a few onions, I can’t say I would eat her dressing today. The way she goes about making her dressing is reminiscent of workers on a construction site trying to piece together enough scraps to finish the job. They don’t want to buy more supplies so they take stuff out of the dumpster and out of heaps of scrap until they get enough to finish the job. To an extent my mother’s dressing was like that. Only God knows what she put into that stuff because I don’t think she knew what she was putting into it. Anything that closely resembled bread, crackers or cornmeal got mashed up and put into her dressing. 

What is more colorful than the food are the people who you invite to sit around the table. Some people are pretty particular about the people with whom they eat while others could care less as long as the food is good. I think Jesus was more concerned about the good cooking than he was the company. He wasn’t too particular when it came to the people who sat at the table: prostitutes, tax collectors, religious leaders, fishermen, etc. 

If you read the Gospel of Luke you will find that Luke seems to make a big deal about whom Jesus chose to eat with. Jesus eats dinner with a lot of sinners. If you bored over the holiday I challenge you to read the entire book and just notice how many times exciting things happen over meals. I think what you will find is that Jesus is particular about who he shares a meal with in so much as he doesn’t believe anyone should be excluded from the table. He think everyone ought to be invited to the table and He gets pretty indignant when someone suggests a certain person doesn’t belong around the table. 




So, what can we learn from this? Perhaps we could learn to be more patient with the people who gather around us this Holiday. Perhaps we could be more inclusive by making sure we don’t leave anyone out. Perhaps we need to consider the idea that we might be that person other people have to be patient with and thus try to be a bit friendlier and hospitable. Maybe you will consider going next door, going down the street or going through your contact list and making sure no one else is eating alone this Thanksgiving. Maybe you need to reach out to someone else so that you aren’t eating alone. Whatever your lesson may be, let me encourage you to make room for one more at your table, even if no one shows up. At least you will know that you made room for one more and that may be enough room for God to teach you something new.



About admin

I am currently serving as the Associate Minister at a Church in Earlham, Iowa, population about 1300. There are probably another 1300 folks who live outside the “city limits.” I am married to my lovely wife Heather. We moved from Mesa, AZ in January 2006. We have a dog (Sammy) and a cat (Daphne). We also have a 92 year old house the sucks the life out of me (Rex), and costs a whole lot of money to upgrade, and is generally a pain in my butt…but I am not bitter. So far I have set my arm on fire, broken my wrist, broken my toe, got tendonitis in my foot, fell out of the bucket of skid loader, captured and “removed” 13 bats from my attic, been to the chiropractor dozens of times and have more doctors on my payroll than I care to admit. I am not very handy! Iowa has been so life-changing for me, but I love the pace of life, pace of ministry and the quality of people. I went to college at Atlanta Christian College near Atlanta, GA where I recieved a Bachelors Degree in Christian Ministry/Preaching. I went to Seminary at Emmanuel School of Religion in Johnson City, TN., where I recieved a Master of Divinity degree with a specialization in Christian Care and Counseling. In addition, I have 2800 hours of post-graduate training as a Chaplain specializing in Crisis Care. I have served Churches in GA, KY, NC, AZ and now Iowa. I have also served as a Chaplain at hospitals in AL and AZ in addition to serving as a Corporate Chaplain with several companies in the metro Phoenix area for a short time. I was also blessed with the opportunity to serve as a Chaplain at the in-field hospital at a NASCAR race in Talladega, AL (once) and as a Chaplain to the Mesa Miners professional baseball team (six weeks). Rex L. Stancil Associate Minister Earlham Church of Christ 515.867.8559 mobile 515.758.2020 home 515.758.2787 office
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