The Banquet Table
"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." Rev 3:20 (NIV)
When I awoke in the morning the table was there. Perhaps it had been there before, but I had never noticed it. It was such a large table, so colorfully spread, that I can't imagine how anyone could have missed it.
I approached the table for a closer look and was greeted by a tall Man, apparently the Host. "Come and dine," He said joyfully. "Would you like for Me to show you to a seat?"
I hesitated. "Well, I'm not sure. Could I ask you a few questions first?"
"Certainly," He replied.
"Whose banquet is this--I mean, who prepared it? Who is issuing the invitations?"
He said, "The Spirit and the bride say, Come; and let him that heareth say, Come; and let him who is athirst come, and take the water and bread of life freely."
"You mean I don't have to pay anything?"
"I don't usually get that hungry for breakfast," I said, as I considered the offer. I looked hopefully up and down the table. "You don't happen to have some of those breakfast bars, that I could just stick in my pocket and eat on my way to work? It would sure save time."
The Host smiled. "If you sit down and eat, you'll find that you have more appetite than you think you do, at least most of the time."
Still I hesitated, "I've known some people who started out eating breakfast, next thing it was breakfast, dinner, and supper. Then they added a few snacks in between. Finally, they were eating all day long and got so fat they could hardly walk around."
"It's true," the Host replied, "that those who do nothing but eat will grow fat. But it is equally true that those who don't eat will die."
He was winning me to His side--but then I noticed something. Sitting on the far side of the table was the preacher from my church. His plate was filled with good things, and he was eating with obvious enjoyment.
"Oh, look! There's my preacher!" I said to the Host.
"Yes," He responded. "He's here every morning. He is a great believer in eating a good breakfast."
"That's wonderful!" I said. "That will save me a lot of time, because I go to hear him every week. He can tell me what the food is really like and I won't have to take the time to come here and eat for myself."
"No one can eat for another," the Host responded, "In order for you to receive strength and nourishment, you must come and eat."
Just then I caught sight of another familiar face. There was Billy Graham, down at the end of the table. "Does he come here every day too?" I asked the Host.
"Yes, he's here for several hours every morning."
"Several hours?" I gulped, "Then I'd better not come. Because I know I don't have enough of an appetite to eat for that long."
"You're only expected to eat for your own needs, not for someone else's," replied the Host. "This is your first morning. Maybe for today you'll want to start out with a couple of those thin, crispy breadsticks, and a glass of juice. You'll be surprised how quickly your appetite will grow, as long as you continue to balance your eating with the proper exercise."
I was just about ready to ask Him to show me to a place at the table when I thought of one more thing. "Hey, wait a minute! This whole business suddenly sounds pretty legalistic. You wouldn't want me coming here to Your banquet table just out of habit, would you?"
"I can't think of another `habit' that would bring you greater health," said my Host. "But you're missing the point. I'm here, every day, waiting to serve you, waiting to share good things that I have prepared for you. I'm here, the table is here, there's a place for you here. I really look forward to having your company for breakfast, why would you just walk by the table and go on your way? It's here, it's free, it's for you.
Then He took my hand and led me to my place at the table. He filled my plate with grapes and cherries and strawberries and waffles ... but wait! I'm telling you about my meal. Your favorite things may be entirely different. Why don't you come to the banquet, and eat for yourself?
Lesson 5 - Conclusion