Matters of Faith: Don’t Eat at Everybody’s Table!

By Rev. J. Loren Russell

Proverbs‬ ‭23:1, 3, 6-8‬ ‭GNB‬‬
“When you sit down to eat with someone important, keep in mind who he is. Don’t be greedy for the fine food he serves; he may be trying to trick you. Don’t eat at the table of a stingy person or be greedy for the fine food he serves. “Come on and have some more,” he says, but he doesn’t mean it. What he thinks is what he really is. You will vomit up what you have eaten, and all your flattery will be wasted.” ‭‭

During this holiday season, as we spend time and share love with family and friends, I began thinking about the places we may go and the tables where we may eat. I wanted to take a minute to remind you that while we celebrate and give thanks for our many blessings, that we must be mindful that not every table prepared is with our best interest at heart.

The book of Proverbs is one of the five books of poetry found in the Bible; Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon. Proverbs is differentiated from the other books of poetry in that it is a book of wisdom. A proverb has been described by J. Vernon McGee as “a short sentence drawn from long experiences.” This book was written by King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived and is but a sampling of the 3,000 proverbs that he wrote.

In this chapter, Solomon’s wisdom focuses on the attitude that we bring to the table, especially when we are at the table of someone with wealth and influence. He says that we have to be careful of who we break bread with because not every table is prepared with our best interest in mind. They may have the finest food and the most luxurious setting, but the host may not be interested in sharing blessings, but in what they can get from you, even though they have considerably more than you may ever have.

People who are in leadership or positions of influence, or just open to celebrate the blessings of the season, are often invited to dine at the table of powerful people. Solomon says that you need to take some precautionary measures so that you’re not tricked or fooled if you accept their invitation. If you read the entire chapter, you’ll find that an eager acceptance is equated with being seduced or to being drunk. You may soon be trapped with less and less chance of being freed. Like an alcoholic who can’t resist the sparkle of the wine as it swirls around in the cup, you can be compelled to eat everything that has been set before you. Solomon compares it to the morning after a night of uncontrolled drinking;“The next morning you will feel as if you had been bitten by a poisonous snake” (23:32).

Solomon goes even further with his comparison of wine and the diner table when he describes in verse 35 just how addictive it can be when you’re seduced by the fine food on your host’s table; “I must have been hit,” you will say; “I must have been beaten up, but I don’t remember it. Why can’t I wake up? I need another drink.” ‭‭

Celebrate and give thanks during this holiday and holy-day season, but be careful that you don’t sit at everybody’s table, even if you’re invited.

Rev. J. Loren Russell is an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx, President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial & Strategic Consulting, host of “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio, Monday’s 8:00 – 10:00 PM (626-226-1448), and author of Matters of Faith: The Book.

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