Take every opportunity to open your home and life to others.

Romans 12:13

 

Neighbors conversing at a Turquoise Table.My friend, Kristin, has started a revolution. She bought a picnic table from Lowe’s, painted it turquoise, and set it up in her front yard. Then, she sat at her Turquoise Table and prayed for God to send whomever he chose.

Before the Turquoise Table went up in Kristin’s yard, Kristin realized that, even though she and her family had lived in their neighborhood for quite a few years, Kristin didn’t really know all of her neighbors. In fact, many of her neighbors were strangers to her. Maybe you can relate?

As Kristin shared her story of the Turquoise Table on her blog and other social media outlets, people around the world began following her lead. Slowly, the stories began trickling in. People were meeting their neighbors and forging deeply meaningful friendships. They were upending the norm that tells us, “Don’t talk to strangers.” They chose to reach out instead of staying behind closed doors or camping out in the back yard. As Kristin puts it, they were becoming, “Front yard people.”

What if weird people come to my table?

Judy, another of my friends, set up a table in her own front yard and the results have been revolutionary. One of the most fascinating aspects of welcoming whomever God sends our way, is that we don’t get control who shows up. As Judy welcomed people to her Turquoise Table, she found herself engaged in conversation with a person who held distinctly opposite views from Judy on a particular issue. As they spent time together in Judy’s front yard, a friendship grew, in spite of their differences. They built respect for one another and Judy began encouraging her friends to talk to strangers, even creating a hashtag with the phrase. As it turns out, the best way to “deal with” strangers is to offer hospitality to everyone we meet.

What if no one comes to my table?

What matters most is our willingness to share hospitality with others. The first step is to set up the table. Maybe, for you, it won’t be an actual, physical table. Instead, your Turquoise Table may be represented by knocking on a neighbor’s door and inviting them for coffee. It might mean praying for the strangers in your midst. But, it might actually mean buying a table, painting it turquoise, and setting it up in your front yard. However it works out for you, the goal is to willingly invite God to show you the best way to welcome your neighbors, exactly as if you are welcoming God himself.

Watch Kristin’s story, here:

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION:

What’s your reaction to the idea of setting up a Turquoise Table in your own front yard? What do you feel when you imagine Jesus sitting at the Turquoise Table with you?

PRAYER:

God, I want to be the best neighbor I can possibly be. Help me to reach out to the strangers in my world in the way that you’ve chosen, just for me. Bless the ministry of the Turquoise Table, and bless my efforts to talk to strangers. In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.

 

Explore online Bible commentary for Romans 12:1–3 at the Theology of Work Project.

 

Image Credit: The Austin Stone Community Church
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One Response to How to “Deal With” the Strangers Among Us

  1. This was an encouraging and challenging post, Deidra. Thank you. I love the turquoise table!