Originally featured on IF:Table (April 2016) , modified for Neighbor's Table.
The Oasis on Lake Travis is a popular Austin restaurant, self-proclaimed as the “Sunset Capital of Texas” with its cliff views looking west over the water. For decades it has been one of those iconic places that attracts locals and visitors alike. I’ve sat on those wooden decks that jet over the bluff with my high school volleyball team, my friends from college, and even on a recent girls trip to Austin. Groups plan special birthdays, celebrations, baby showers, and even weddings there. It’s the place, y’all! Each night, when the sun finally sets, a bell rings and patrons gather on the many decks of The Oasis, giving the scene a standing ovation. I like to think it’s a standing O for the Creator!
Almost ten years ago, there was a fateful night when a lighting strike ignited those Oasis wooden decks in the middle of the night. More than fifty firefighters fought the blaze, and there was so much damage when the sun peaked out the next morning. The core of the restaurant was destroyed. The next day the owner was already at work, dreaming with an architect of how to build it back even better. Sure he was upset business would drop dramatically in the months ahead, but he was thinking ahead with hope.
The story goes, or at least has been told to me, that the owner lived just up the road from The Oasis. As his restaurant sat destroyed, he continued to think about those patrons who would miss those special sunset moments until he could rebuild. His books had reservations for bridal showers and even a few weddings. And he wanted to offer the same service and sunsets his popular destination had become for people.
He did the unthinkable next. He opened his personal home. He literally opened his own table at his home to these who had been dreaming of their special occasion at the restaurant down the street. Beauty rose from ashes. He was facilitating their moment in his own home so the thing they came to expect was delivered. Isn’t this true of an open table in our homes?
I encourage you to be bold and invite some friends that are new in your life. Maybe it’s a neighbor, a mom of your child’s friend, a co-worker, someone at a different church, different race, different age. Maybe they have no faith at all. Maybe this month we become the facilitator of a moment for someone else. We open up our tables and watch in amazement what God will do with our bold and obedient Y E S.
What if we become like The Oasis restaurant owner and open our homes to facilitate a moment for others? What if we create a moment where they see Jesus in our open table, our conversations, and our love? And as the sun sets over The Oasis restaurant and the table at your home, let’s give our Creator a standing ovation for HE is the one making all things new.