Sabbaths, Feasts, and More
Marking Jewish Themes with Devotion
“Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing within your home. Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees as they sit around your table” (Psalm 128:3 NIV).
I snapped this photo on the Mt. of Olives in the Garden of Gethsemane. It is an ancient olive tree. The tender green shoots coming up from the base of the trunk are new olive plants. These photos perfectly depict the above key scripture.
I never quite understood this verse until I came to Israel and saw this living-color illustration. Who knows how old the tree is? How long it will live? But the tender plants around the base spring up to assure the seed of the tree will flourish and continue in the generations that follow. It’s a picture of fruitfulness, regeneration, multiplication.
I love the idea of the tree trunk as a metaphor for the table in the home. It is at the center of the kitchen in this warm place of replenishing that so many memories occur. I remember birthdays, holidays, winter days, hot seasons, times of prayer, story time, correction, and reading around the table where I grew up in Colorado.
My brother and sisters hung out at the table. We looked for prizes in our cereal boxes, in Cracker Jacks too. We ate pancakes or scrambled eggs there occasionally on weekends and told secrets to our friends who came for sleepovers. We enjoyed pizza, tacos, enchiladas! We did crafts and made messes. My mother was always there cooking, serving, cleaning up, bringing us into line, offering cups cocoa, or just plain laughing with us.
The kitchen table is the place that rocks for the family.
It is the jugular vein of the home. Life flows through it.
My husband and I didn’t have many children–we adopted one. And she is the joy of our lives. I have friends though with five or more children. They have many young olive plants around their tables at home.
I have never seen an Olive tree with just one green plant shooting up. They always have many or something is wrong. Still great potential is there. The kitchen table is big, and we must surround it with many tender lives. That’s the biblical pattern. And that is where investing in the next generation comes in.
It is parents’ responsibility to instill something of value and eternal in the seed coming up… even if it is not their own flesh and blood. Having just one olive plants means there are empty chairs. And those need to be filled with spiritual sons and daughters. They can carry our DNA, which is tied to God’s kingdom on earth and heaven, just like our own flesh and blood.
My husband and I have filled the table in years past with family, friends, and strangers, and we are saying there’s room for more! All those tender shoots without proper kitchen tables need to be nurtured and watered.
Life happens there! Come to the kitchen table and be nourished, loved, and inspired.
For more study…
Romans 12:13, 1 Peter 4:9, Hebrews 13:2
Work it out in daily life…
Sadly American culture is so fast-paced that we do not take time and energy to eat together around a table. A recent study revealed that the average American eats one in every five meals in her car and only one in five meals are around a table as a family. So much happens around the table beyond good nutrition. Make it a goal to plan family meals together more than once a week. Linger there afterward and share. Talk. The memories will be lasting for your family. If you are single, invite others in for a bite. Bring in carry out. It doesn’t have to be expensive, fancy, or complicated. Just share your life around the table.