Finding God’s Gifts at the Table

Finding God’s Gifts at the Table

Our grandchildren’s eyes widen when they see the focal point of family birthday celebrations—the coffee table laden with gift-wrapped packages. Throughout the year, our daughter-in-love notes the toys the children admire, and she considers their needs and interests. Her process ensures the gifts will be both delightful and appropriate.

My husband and I join our co-grandparents and contribute to the purchases. Then we all enjoy watching the children open gifts, selected especially for them.  

Our grandchildren’s mom spends more time with them than anyone else, and she knows their preferences, needs, and sizes. Therefore, the gifts—some needed and some desired—are well-chosen. Wished-for gifts that are unsafe or unwise never make it to the coffee table.

Our heavenly Father also provides gifts for His children. How does our family’s gift-giving tradition compare to God’s provision?

Psalm 23 gives us insight. David praised God as His Provider while he lived under a roof of blazing sun and twinkling stars. If I’d been with David, I would have requested a palace bed instead of a grassy knoll on rocky hillsides with smelly sheep.

However, I’m grateful for God’s plan in David’s life, for his pasture lessons birthed beautiful words that reveal characteristics of our heavenly Father.  

David expressed gratitude for the table prepared before him.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.

Psalm 23:5 NKJV

According to Phillip Keller in A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, the table David referred to could have been a high plateau or a mesa, land the shepherds prepared for their sheep before allowing them to graze there.

Keller describes his own shepherding experience as an arduous process that required the removal of harmful weeds, the clearance of winter debris from water holes, and the protection of the flock from predators. 1

Jesus, our Shepherd, prepares a table for us—a place of fellowship and provision with Him. As the good Shepherd, He supplies all we need. Instead of feeding on the poisonous weeds of false teaching and the cluttered trials of self-effort, we can find gifts on His table to calm our hearts and teach us more about Him.

Instead of allowing the enemy of our souls to devour us like a prowling lion that threatens sheep, we can seek our Shepherd’s protection and embrace the gifts at His table designed to defeat our enemy.

Sheep, Lamb, Farm, Animal, Mammal, Cute

In addition to the shepherd analogy, some scholars describe the Lord as the Host in Psalm 23:5 and His children as guests at His table. In verses 5-6 the psalmist used hospitality-related words, such as table, oil, cup, and house. 2 God’s buffet of blessings is always available.

He invites you to His table to exchange discouragement for joy, fear for peace, and doubt for faith. Empty your plate of false guilt and fill it with His acceptance. Defeat the enemy of pride with an opportunity to serve with a humble heart. Fight against a critical spirit by speaking words of encouragement. His table is filled with every provision we need.

Speaking of tables, back to my question …

How does our family’s gift-giving tradition at the coffee table compare to the provisions at God’s table?

The coffee table serves as a focal point for our celebrations, but when God’s table is our focal point, we find far more generous gifts—blessings we need and blessings that delight us. God knows us better than anyone else. As our good Father, He chooses wisely.

Some of His gifts may not be on our list, but we can trust Him as the Giver of good gifts (James 1:17). Some of what we long for may be omitted for a while because God knows the future and works from His sovereign plan. He’s a wise and loving Father.

If we are Christ-followers, children of God, His gifts are ours to embrace.

If we are Christ-followers, children of God, His gifts are ours to embrace. Click To Tweet

What are you longing to find at His table? We don’t know what today will bring, but God knows which gifts will meet our needs and help us defeat the enemy. Has one of His gifts surprised you lately? Please share with us in the Comments below. We’d love to hear from you.

Gift, New Year'S Eve, Congratulation
If this post blessed you today, perhaps you’ll share the link with a friend. Thanks for reading.

1 Keller, W. Phillip. A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1970), 91-95. 2 The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2028), 966 (a reference to Psalm 23:5).

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32 thoughts on “Finding God’s Gifts at the Table

  1. I can only imagine the anticipation when the announcement to head to the coffee table is made. Oh what fun memories will be made there. So loved your point about how we should reflect on the thought and care that God puts into the selection of each gift for us. And, of course, you always know that caregiving for livestock gets me right where I live. A truly enjoyable and reflective post Ms. Jeannie. I love how your words invite us to stop and consider the greatness of God.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      I reflected, too, on our God’s greatness as I wrote this post. He knows what’s best and gifts us with treasures each day. I’m sure feeding your livestock offers a vivid picture of God caring for us. Thank you for your kind comments.

  2. “God’s buffet of blessing is always available.” I loved this sentence from your message. So simplistic, yet profound beyond measure. I’m guilty of sometimes bemoaning my circumstances rather than giving thanks for my infinite blessings. Thank you for this sweet reminder.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Katherine, I sometimes fall into focusing on the circumstances, too. As I wrote this post, I considered how wise and loving our heavenly Father is. I want to anticipate His blessings more, and I hope He reminds me that His work in my life is always for His glory and my good. Thanks so much, Katherine. Your words mean a lot.

  3. I need the gift of calmness as I leave one home to move to another. It’s been a frantic race. But I know the door to God’s presence is always open. I must go sit at His table to find calmness.

    Thanks for reminding me His gifts are on the table waiting to be taken.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Oh, Candyce. I understand the need for calmness during a move. That’s one of the hardest jobs you can have. I think you’re wise to acknowledge your need for calmness and seek God’s presence, for as you mentioned, His door is always open. Thanks for sharing from your heart. I prayed for your move.

  4. “If we are Christ-followers, children of God, His gifts are ours to embrace.”
    Love this! How special to think that all He offers us is from our caring Father. He knows just what we need. I am so thankful for His love and care as He shepherds us.
    Thank you for sharing.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Dawn, I appreciate the points you shared. Yes, it’s a special blessing to remember our relationship with our Father and to recognize His love, care, and generosity. Indeed, He knows what we need, and He promises to provide. Blessings to you.

  5. When I am asked the question, “What are your spiritual gifts?”, I always answer that my gifts from God can change at any time. He allows me to use different gifts in different situations. I am thankful for the gifts He gives. Great message Jeannie.

  6. What a blessing to be the co-grandmother to witness these beautiful times and to be the sister in Christ who anticipates and enjoys, “the table He sets before us….” Thank you for sharing your love for Christ and family, Gigi!

  7. Thank you, Melissa, for reading and sharing. God gives us spiritual gifts for service, but as you indicated, He provides exactly what we need each day. What a loving and generous God we serve.

  8. Jan, it’s a delight to share family joy with you. Sisters in Christ are another of God’s gifts we treasure.

  9. “Instead of feeding on the poisonous weeds of false teaching and the cluttered trials of self-effort, we can find gifts on His table to calm our hearts and teach us more about Him.” Why are we like sheep sometimes and want to go to those poisonous weeds when we do have that buffet table presented before us? Thank you, Jeanne, for showing us how to eat the best food!

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Barbara. We are like sheep in many ways, aren’t we? God patiently waits at the table He’s prepared for us to come and enjoy His presence and His provision. Psalm 23 is a good reminder, isn’t it? I’m glad we can remind and encourage each other.

  10. I love the picture of your grandchildren’s eyes widening at the gifts on the coffee table and the wisdom your daughter-in-law uses to select just the right gifts for them. And I love your insights about the gifts God gives us from His table. “He invites you to His table to exchange discouragement for joy, fear for peace, and doubt for faith. Empty your plate of false guilt and fill it with His acceptance. Defeat the enemy of pride with an opportunity to serve with a humble heart. Fight against a critical spirit by speaking words of encouragement. His table is filled with every provision we need.”

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Thank you, Kathy. It’s really fun to watch them open presents whether they receive a wished-for item or a surprise selected especially for them. I think of God’s table often and wonder what He’s placed there for me. He knows of needs we can’t foresee. I’m grateful He’s a wise Father and gives according to what He knows is best.

  11. Picturing my children and how much I love them always reminds me how much God loves me! What a beautiful reminder!

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Thank you, Janna, for reading and commenting. Looking from your mother’s heart is a beautiful way to ponder how much God loves us. And to think His love is greater than ours. Love so amazing.

  12. Beautifully said Jeannie. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful analogy.

  13. For God so loved the world, He gave….

    Isn’t that the gospel? 🙂

    What a poignant devotion, pointing us to the Word and His ways. Jeannie, this reminds me of God’s love for us, and how we can embody Him to a broken world. I love your examples both from scripture and also from your real life. Thank you.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Thank you, Robin. His love for us is unimaginable, isn’t it? What a privilege to share the joy of knowing Him with others. I’m glad you mentioned John 3:16, probably the most familiar Bible verse for many which sum up His gift.

  14. Love how you used your words to paint a picture that I can relate to and remember. The questions you asked made me stop and think. I find comfort in knowing that God is a wise and loving Father.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      I, too, find comfort that God is a wise and loving Father. He doesn’t always answer the way we’d like, but His love and wisdom far surpass ours. I’m delighted to know that the examples and questions blessed you. They certainly spoke to me as I wrote this post, Kimberly. I appreciate your comments so much.

  15. Oh Jeannie, I just love the analogy that, as grandparents, our gift giving can be compared to God’s gifting us to love and serve beyond measure and just as He sees fit.

    You have created a beautiful piece that encourages Christian growth and service in using those gifts and your reference to hospitality truly touched my heart. Some of the best moments in life are spent “around the table” with our children, grandchildren, extended family and friends as we take in all the blessings of life.

    As you direct us back to God, you make a great point as you encourage us to stop “feeding on the poisonous weeds of false teaching and the cluttered trials of self-effort, (so) we can find gifts on His table to calm our hearts and teach us more about Him.

    Beautiful!

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Della, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us. I love those “around the table” moments, too, when we laugh, pray, share, and enjoy fellowship with each other. Grandparents have a good idea of giving out of love, don’t we? 😉 God is such a generous and wise Father.

  16. In what seems like season after season of grieving, I often ask God, my Abba Father, for the gift of peace. I’m so grateful that when we ask, he doesn’t call us greedy or spoiled, but longs to know that we want more of what only He can provide. Thanks for this post as it reminded me of His goodness.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Stacey, I’m sorry for all of the grief you’ve endured and are still walking through. We know God’s answers aren’t always as we’d like, but He is always wise and filled with goodness, as you mentioned. Jesus is the Prince of Peace and longs for us to look to Him always. I’m praying now that you know His peace as you walk through each day.

  17. Thanks Jeannie for a lovely analogy of our earthly gifts from family and friends and from our Heavenly Father. We as believers are so blessed to know that He provides for our every need as his sheep, just as a beautiful mother does for her children.
    The visual of the children’s anticipation of the celebration made me smile. 😊
    May we always thank Him each day for the gifts He so graciously gives us.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Becky. Yes, I agree as God’s children we’re indeed blessed just to know He loves and provides for us. I’m glad you reminded us to thank Him for His daily gifts. It’s easy to take blessings for granted, but when we stop to name them, we realize what a loving Father He is.

  18. Love the biblical and personal analogies Jeannie! This is a God given gift you give to me and I feel the same is true for many others. For me, completely trusting today and tomorrow without my own misguided efforts still can be a struggle. The past proves “every good and perfect gift comes from above.” Why do I still try and orchestrate what I think is best for myself? I’m so thankful for a faithful God who always knows what is best. Thank you for the reminder!

  19. Barbara, I love your reminders, too. I’ve asked myself the question you posed. “ Why do I still try and orchestrate what I think is best for myself? ” God is faithful to meet our needs. Thanks so much.

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