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The Great Banquet

banquet

“Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him! Fear the Lord, you His godly people, for those who fear Him will have all they need. Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.”

I can say with absolute certainty that I have never regretted spending time in God’s presence. Every morning that I get up to enjoy Him and learn from Him, I come away filled and challenged. I can also say that many times I have spaces in my schedule throughout the day, and in the process of deciding what to do, the thought of spending time with God comes up. Often I will choose to do something else, not because I don’t love Jesus, but because doing something else feels more attractive in the moment. Laziness wins out, and I fill myself with junk.

When we think about Americans and our general societal problem with obesity, we could place the blame on a variety of things. The way I see it, however, is that it is often a problem with what kinds of foods we are filling our stomachs. I see it in my own life too. Candy, potato chips, and carbs are cheap, quick to fix, and readily available. We fill ourselves up on these things, so that when the good food comes, we can’t eat much. What are we constantly fighting with our kids about? “Wait until after you eat your meal to have that candy.” We are trying to get our kids to at least consume some vitamins. I have found also that when fast-food and unhealthy food is a part of my regular diet, I don’t even like the taste of good food. It doesn’t have the flavor I’m used to and isn’t attractive to me. I feel a little concerned sometimes when we go to nice restaurants and I end up ordering a grilled cheese sandwich because nothing else looks good to me.

When I think about my spiritual life and how I spend my time, I realize how sad it is that I have this incredible and luscious banquet literally set out before me of all the riches of God, His presence, and His Kingdom and I often choose out of it. I choose to eat the trash and junk food of entertainment, activities, and social outings that the world offers me. A lot of the time it is a laziness thing – the junk food is readily available, and little to no effort is required to partake in these things. Comfort cries out, and I answer. I fill myself up on these things, and when I enter the presence of God I have nothing left to offer. God has little space that He can fill. I don’t like the taste of the Kingdom, because my taste buds are used to the taste of the world.

My friend Rachel and I were talking yesterday about the normal Christian Bible Study or Home Group that we have experienced. Everyone shows up, chatty and excited. When the actual Bible Study begins, however, it is like pulling teeth to get people to talk. Often their prayer requests involve wanting to know God more, but when you ask them how much time they have spent in prayer the past week, they struggle to come up with an answer. Then, the Bible Study ends, and everyone returns to the excited chatter about the latest football game or TV show they saw. I have definitely been guilty of this. Why is it that we struggle to be as excited about Jesus as we are about sports or media? Because we are used to the taste of these things, but have not developed the taste buds for the presence of God. We don’t have a hunger for the Great Banquet. We are too busy snacking on junk food. We are constantly filling ourselves up with things that bring no nutrition to our lives. The good stuff doesn’t even taste good to us, because the fake stuff does.

I guarantee that if we truly spent time with Jesus and developed a hunger for Him, we would have no desire to return to a life of junk food. Why? Because we were created for the real stuff! When we discover the richness of who He is, we discover who we really are and there is freedom in living that way! We discover what it means to be filled with fountains of living water that never run dry. When we are truly romanced by the Creator of our souls, no other love even calls for our attention. When we partake of God’s Great Banquet, we discover that there is no need for anything else.

One thing that we hear from many short-term missionaries coming down to Ecuador is how shocked they are at how good the fruit tastes. They talk about the flavor and wishing that the fruit in the United States was so rich and tasty. Why is the fruit in Ecuador so much better? Because it isn’t filled with all the hormones, preservatives, and pesticides that the fruit in the States has. In trying to make the fruit more attractive, more available, and less bug-infested, Americans have actually ruined a good thing. How often do we do that with the Gospel? The raw Gospel needs no add-ons and certainly does not need to be protected. What if we preached more about laying down our lives and picking up our cross? The true and unashamed call of God is what we need in our churches, universities, and government offices. Anything less is just not worth the effort.

Are you snacking on junk food or are you developing a taste and a hunger for the Great Banquet of God? He wants to revolutionize your life, draw you into the deep recesses of Himself, and overflow in your life. Don’t settle for something that brings nothing but trash to your life. Choose the abundant life in Him! I guarantee that once you have truly tasted of Him, you won’t even want to go back to the junk you knew before.

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