Pastor Carter’s sermon yesterday focused on the Parable of the Great Banquet in Luke 14. It was a good message, and during the altar call, something Pastor Carter said was something I needed to hear. When you’re at someone’s house, you eat what they place before you. The meal is a representation of their investment, effort, time, sacrifice, and care. Anyone who has ever been on a mission trip knows this to be true. You eat what you’re given (with a smile), and don’t ask questions. For me, this rule also held true when visiting family or friend’s houses too.
But the same rule holds true when you come to God’s table. If you accept his invitation to come and dine, you have to accept the meal that is placed before you. Vegetables and all. Pastor Carter shared that he used to make up a second verse to the old song “Where you lead me I will follow” --> What you feed me, I will swallow.” *lol* But how often do I sit there at the table and push things around, look quizzically at what is on my plate, and desperately peek for a dog to whom I can pass bits of food underneath the table?
This is a theme that seems to pop up quite often in my life -- being happy with the meal that has been prepared, or being content with the path I have been given to walk. I have to remember from time to time that, given the choice, most people in the Bible (and great people in history) would have probably chosen much different paths for their lives. And our history would be lesser for it. It brings to mind the passage in Romans that says, “But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?' Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?” (Rom 9:20-21)
** Side note: I struggle with this, feeling small and insignificant. But for as much as we’re collectively inspired by figures like Jesus, Ghandi, Mother Theresa, Mister Rogers, William Wilberforce, etc…how many “common pots” have also made a profound difference? I have “nobodies” in my life that have left me forever changed. I’m sure you can list several in your life too.
Vegetables may not be my favorite part of a meal. The entre before me may be something I’ve never seen before…but it is the product of love, sacrifice, and investment. The food is for my nourishment and well-being. And quite simply, it is the meal that has been set before me. It's not my place to question it. As a guest at the banquet it is my place just to eat and enjoy. (And you know, most of the times with meals, banquets, and get-togethers, the event is less about the food and more about the fellowship. I needed to be reminded to be grateful, to not criticize my plate, and to simply enjoy the presence those gathered at the table.)
I hope I can humbly and joyfully sing: “Where you lead me I will follow…What you feed me, I will swallow.”
"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.” (Isa 55:1-2)
P.S. – This is my vegetable of the day: “Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Col 3:12) Recent events in my life have required copious amounts of these virtues. But it’s amazing that as I ask for them, they are given. And as I choose to act in them and pour them out, the supply is refilled. And as I make a habit of acting in them, they come naturally…without any extra effort at all.
Just as what you eat fuels your body, what you feed your character feeds your thoughts and actions. --- Remember to eat your vegetables!