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The Feast!

Some days I cannot imagine how things could possibly end up right. It’s hopeless. Too many variables and too many irons in the fire. It would take two of me, working 24 hours a day to get it all done—and one of “me” would need to have a much larger brain. I cannot do it all—-I am unable.

He says: “Let not your heart be troubled”; (John 14:3, KJV) but what happens when your heart is troubled and you can’t bring about the things essential to taking care of your children or your obligations to others that have entrusted to you? It does become troubling to your soul. It’s akin telling a drowning person, “Now don’t panic, you need to relax.” When should you panic when you’re about to drown? Some people Godard are in panic-frame of mind!

When I am pressed upon and disappointed I wonder: What of His reputation and my reputation as one who tells others that, “God will deliver you in time of trouble”? From all appearances, many times I have been abandoned and left to ridicule. Where is He today? Sometimes (a lot times lately), He seems so far away—almost indifferent to my cries for His Hand and His touch. Some days it’s as if He cannot hear me.

Yes, I know that He lives and that He is watching. I know that I must remain in Him if I am to bear the fruit of peace, joy, etc. But honestly, I feel that I am drowning at times with all that He has placed or allowed to be placed upon me. And yes, I realize that many of those things that stress me are self-inflicted—but the pain remains..

But to the point, “What do I do?” I am reminded of Paul’s words in the letter to the Philippians, "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3-4, NIV) Those are the very words I need! It is what help me when I am demoralized with self-pity or depression—the realization that it is often my pre-occupation with my troubles that gets in the way of His peace, power and incredible intervention! It is the focus upon the needs and hurts of others that always brings about a change in my heart and mind. Be careful, if you start focusing all your “pity time” on others and not yourself you are going to be so full of joy and power and His blessings that you are going to have a target on your back for Satan’s little imps! You will become a far greater threat to them than you were before!

The angels will be applauding and the demons will be weeping.

The problem is my tendency to be so independent and bent on “fixing things myself”, that I exclude Him and the joy of His being in charge and orchestrating His rescue and promises in His time.It is ultimately a matter of the ego—-I want to fix this so that I can say that I fixed it!

I have four young men that I am feeding, parenting, raising, and loving, for goodness sake! They look to me for stability, direction, encouragement and as the example of how a real man should handle himself. And strange as it sounds, the more I focus on their troubles in math, or how to tie a shoe, or how to grow muscles, or how to trust God, et al, the less I aware of the troubles that were drowning me a few hours ago.

It is true, it is not good that a man should be alone—he tends to start taking himself too seriously. Praise God that He allows the needs and hopes of others to invade our self-centered orbits. It is spiritually indispensable to consider the needs of the others before you consider your own needs if you want peace in your soul. That’s how God has created our souls.The problems and challenges of others become our opportunity to rid ourselves of our own self-absorption!

Once a man dreamed of dying and going to heaven. As he was shown an enormous and ornately carved door that opened by itself as he got close to it. He was then escorted into a cavernous dining hall and he saw thousands of people sitting solemnly at a long table—they were all dressed to the nines in tuxedos and evening gowns. The table was immaculately set with a finely starched table cloth and embroidered linen napkins. The china, silverware and stem ware were perfectly laid in preparation for a feast like never seen before time immemorial.

But then he noticed that all the guests at the table were gaunt and sad. There was no laughter, no clinking of champagne glasses—-there was utter silence. And then he saw why. All the guests were tied to their chairs so that they could not get up or move or make any motion with their head toward the table. All they could do was look at the feast and lower their heads at the herbaceous aroma of rosemary, mint, and other aromatic herbs.

The incredible feast that sat before them but they were not eating. And worse, their arms could move and they could touch the soft bread or raise the glass of wine (for the Baptists it was grape juice), but wooden slats were fastened to their arms so that they could never bring the delicious morsels to their mouths. It was tortuous and sad to watch these people forever fastened to chairs at the most incredible banquet ever thrown; they would never be able to taste it. Then he realized: “This is not heaven, this is hell. I’ve walked into the wrong room.”

Suddenly he heard some noise behind a small door. It sounded like laughter, but he was not sure. So he opened the door and entered into an even larger dining room. But this was different. Waiters were scurrying back and forth with platters laden full of every imaginable delectable.

The smell of that room was ambrosial and intoxicating and everyone was laughing and talking and smiling. There was joy in that room and a great feeling of shared affection. This was heaven.

The people at the table were attired just as fancy as those next door in hell, but they were feasting on an incredible meal that their Host had been preparing prior to the foundation of the earth! They were the special guests—-each one of them—-and they knew it. There was no one at that table undernourished and no one was counting the carbs or watching glasses of wine they had. It was the biggest dinner party ever thrown.

But then he was startled to see that these folks were also tied the their chairs—-just like the folks in hell. And just like their doomed friends they also had slats attached to their arms so that they could not bend their elbows and feed themselves. And yet, there they were, indulging on these sapid dishes and and endless platters of even more dishes, tureens and bowls full of aromatic foods. And then saw why there were so happy and so stuffed full of lobster and escargot and foie gras, tacos and tapas and Beef Wellington! It was because each one was feeding the ones beside him or her—-to the left and the right. And the entire table, that extended as far as the eye could see, had people that were seated besides folks that they loved—they were taking care of the ones on their left and right and being taken care by the same people. As the people of God’s Kingdom, they had learned to “consider the needs of the other as being more important than their own needs”, and so, of course, everyone was taking care of everyone else quite instinctively.

One would take a succulent shrimp and dip it in cocktail sauce and feed his friend on his left; then he would take a piece of hot sour dough bread and feed his friend on his right. And then his friends would feed him a piece of mouth watering filet mignon or king crab. Everyone was so happy and full of appreciation for each other! Yes, they needed each other, but they didn’t seem to helping each other out of sense of obligation, but by nature—-as if it was as natural as breathing.

And then the visitor then watched cart after of carts of the most redolent and artistic masterpieces of pastries, pies, cakes and other confections you can imagine roll into the hall to the the applause and delight of the guests. The meal was getting even better! These nectareous concoctions were mouth-watering and a delight to the eyes!

In hell, by comparison, it never occurred to any of them to look after the other person’s needs—-and they were miserable and starving—for eternity. On the earth they served only their own appetite, and in hell, that habit, minus God’s presence and the example of God’s people, would only increase and accelerate; for eternity those in that hellish room would become more angry and depressed about how unfair it was that they could not eat, or drink, or be merry.

But isn’t that what He talked about and taught us? Didn’t He teach us that He was going to prepare a place for us—-a room—-a mansion? Didn’t He give parables about a great feast and banquet and wedding reception?

Didn’t He say, “Depart, I don’t know you…..I was hungry and you would not feed “……….or the opposite, “Enter beloved, because you feed me what I was hungry…”. All humanity will one day be at a breath taking feast of the family of God or a heart-breaking gathering of the doomed and damned.

Are you troubled right now? Are you burdened and depressed? Do you feel that you can’t go another step? Does life no longer seem to be offering you anything to “get excited about?”

Then try living the life you were created and later redeemed and restored to live. We are troubled and heavy laden because we are not operating our lives with Jesus Christ at the center and the needs of others not taking pre-eminence over our own needs. “Talking” about love is not the same as living, acting, planning and giving in love. And if the manner in which you love others costs you nothing, I wonder what kind of love it is? It’s certainly not the love of God, Jesus or the saints.

Now is the time to determine which invitation and which door you want to accept.

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