My husband called on his way home from work, tired and hungry. He had been in Atlanta since before the sun came up, and now he was stuck in traffic. He still had to go back to his office, which meant passing our house (which was still 25 miles away from where he was) and traveling an additional 46 miles round trip, to put up evidence and tie up loose ends on his case. I could hear the frustration in his voice, as he asked me what we were going to have for dinner.
I had a great dinner planned out, and knew he would be excited to eat it when he got home. I rattled off the delicious meal I planned to prepare when my husband surprised me and said, “Why don’t I swing by the house and pick you up, and you can go to the office with me. Then we can go get something to eat.” I sighed to myself and said ok. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go to eat with him; it was just that we really didn’t have the money to spend on a dinner out and besides, I had been looking forward to a nice family dinner together. Still, I knew after the day he had, he needed some quiet. So instead of getting a big dinner ready, I got myself ready.
He picked me up and we went to town, did what he needed to do at the office, and then went to a little down-home restaurant that he enjoys. We sat down and talked about his day and about mine. We laughed and we ate. It was nice to sit in the quiet and just be together sharing a meal and meaningful conversation.
As we sat eating, I took notice of my surroundings. I had never been in this restaurant before. It was quaint and unassuming. You could tell that not much had been spent on decorating the place, and yet it was cozy and friendly. Above the register I noticed a sign hanging on the wall. I smiled to myself and made note of its message. “Christ is the head of this home, the Unseen Guest at every meal, and the silent listener to every conversation.” I pointed the sign out to my husband and we talked about its meaning.
As our busy days pass and frustrations mount, we often forget to include God in the little, everyday things that happen. Instead, we save our interactions with Him for Sunday morning and then go about the rest of our week not thinking of Him again. And yet, aren’t we supposed to include God in everything we do? Aren’t we supposed to make Him the head of our homes?
As Christians what does it mean to have Christ as the head of our homes? Simply put, it means that we want all our actions, all our words, all our thoughts, and all our prayers to reflect God’s love. It means we will strive to put our faith in God above all else allowing Him to guide us in all we say and do. When we place Christ at the helm we are declaring our families to be His. We make no attempt to hide the fact that we are Christians and are ready to do God’s work.
When we allow Christ to be the head of our homes we realize that, like the quote tells us, He becomes “the unseen guest at our tables and the silent listener to every conversation.” For some of us this can be a scary thought! If we imagine Christ sitting at our tables, listening with rapt attention to all we say and watching our every move, it is suddenly, almost painfully, obvious that we need to do so much work to improve our lives! We begin thinking in different terms- if Christ was sitting here in the flesh, would I act the way I am acting now? If I could see Christ right beside me, would I have this same attitude? If I could see Christ watching me as I talk, would I be willing to say the same things I say each day? Just the thought of Christ being physically present is enough to encourage us to change our ways.
But as much as we wish to physically see Christ at our table, we can’t. This doesn’t mean He isn’t there though. In fact, He is! When we invite Christ to be the head of our home, He comes to every meal. He sits among us and enjoys our company. When we allow Christ to be the head of our home, He listens to our conversations, He hears our prayers, and He quietly encourages us to listen to Him in return.
Christ wants to be an active participant in our lives. He wants to be an integral part of our family. But we have to invite Him in and allow Him the honor of being the head of our home. He won’t force Himself on us. Instead, He waits patiently for us to seek Him out and welcome Him into our lives.
As we sat there in the quiet of that little restaurant, I wondered what we could do to make Christ feel more welcome in our home. I thought about our conversations around the table; I thought about my attitude at home and how I handle the stress of day-to-day life; I thought about the times I lacked trust in God’s providence. I knew that I had been letting the world creep in and take over His rightful place as the head of our home. I felt ashamed. I knew I could, and should, be doing better. At that moment, I understood that God was asking more of me and of my family. He wanted to be at the head of our household once again.
God knew I didn’t want to go out to eat that evening. I wanted to stay home and do what we always did. But He also knew I needed to be taken out of the house to listen to a message He so dearly needed me to hear about my home. I had been letting the world, and the frustrations that come with it, take His place as the head of our household. That needed to change. He provided me with a simple and clear reminder that “Christ is the head of this home, the Unseen Guest at every meal, and the silent listener to every conversation.”