Growing in God

By Caitlyn Blair

Verses To Read:

A few months ago, I went to a Women’s Camp in Ohio. Over 1,600 women registered for a weekend of camping, worshiping, and spending time with friends and Jesus. In the end, about 1,500 women showed up for Women’s Camp. The retreat was from Friday to Sunday, with the main event being a feast that was prepared for all the campers on Saturday. Tables were set with black tablecloths, candles, and at the center of every place setting was printed out a beautiful placard with your name on it. They did this to symbolize that there is a place at God’s table for you. While I was at dinner, I started to think about the 100 women that had signed up to come to the camp, but for some reason or another didn’t make it to the retreat. These women had a card printed with their name and a place at the feast that was now just an empty seat.

This made me think about the parable of the goats and the sheep in Matthew 25:31-46. This passage is one of many parables Jesus is telling His disciples when they ask Him about the end times and how they are going to know Jesus is returning. In this parable, Jesus says that at the end times, He will gather all of the nations before Him and he will separate them like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. The sheep will be on His right hand and the goats will be on His left. He says that the sheep will be welcomed into heaven, given their inheritance, and the kingdom that was prepared for them since the beginning of the world. He says the sheep have loved Him and taken care of those in need around them. On the other hand, the goats will not have a place at His table because they did not love Him, make Him their Lord, nor care for those in need.

One of the best Bible stories that mirrors this parable is the story of a man who lived his life not according to God’s will. He was a criminal and was sentenced to die a criminal’s death—death on a cross. He ended up being crucified next to Jesus. It didn’t matter that he had made poor choices or even that he hadn’t believed in God up to that point. He made a choice to acknowledge who Jesus was and ask Jesus in that moment to change his eternal life.

Luke 23:39-43 (NIV) reads, “One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: ‘Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ But the other criminal rebuked him. ‘Don’t you fear God,’ he said, ‘since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’

If you haven’t already, choose today to take your spot at the table He has prepared for you. Choose Jesus today.

Questions To Consider:

1. Are you living your life as one of Jesus’ sheep and putting Christ before everything else? Or are you acting as one of the goats, who selfishly live their lives, only looking inwardly?

2. It is good news that we all have a seat at God’s table. A spot that is reserved for us through our faith in Jesus Christ. Is there something in your life that could cause you to miss your seat at the table? What comes to mind and what can you do to change it?

Prayer to Pray:

Father, thank you for a spot at your table. Thank you for preparing my place even before I knew you. God, please help me see the places that don’t include you in my life and keep me from the temptations of the earth. God, help me be like the thief on the cross who chose the path that led to you. I love you. Amen