You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:5-6
Bishop-Elect Gibert spoke on this passage last night. To write about everything God revealed to me in His word would take hours, so allow me to share one application that occurred to me as I reflected on this message.
Ever been invited to dinner at someone’s house? Dinner invitations can be enjoyable or stressful. There are certain variable that come into play. A big factor in our appraoch comes down to who’s preparing the meal. If you don’t trust the cook, you scramble for alternatives. Admit it – you’ve fallen into one of these three categories when eating at someone else’s house.
- Politely pick at the meal, eating out of courtesy, not enjoyment
- Eat very little and then stop for fast food on the way home
- Enjoy the meal so much that you eat until you’re filled
Each of the three options have ramifications that I’d like to explore…
The first is hinged on being polite, but at its core we are rejecting the food. I’ll do it, but only because I have to or because there’s no other choice. God has set a feast before us, but how often do we look at what He has given us only to turn our noses up to it because it’s not what we wanted. The food is good. It is nutritious, and more importantly – it is exactly what we need. But unlike your mother back when you were five, He’s not going to force you to eat it. It is your choice. Make the right choice, be healthy, be strong, and grow in body, mind, character, love and faith.
The second option is worldly because it’s hinged in compromise. We are finding our own best case scenario that will let us have our way without offending the one who prepared the food. Of course, by going our own way instead of following God’s way, we receive less, it’s lower quality, it ultimately hurts us, and it costs us more. You think you didn’t offend your host, but they realized how much you didn’t eat. Then you stop in the drive-thru, pay extra money for the value meal filled with fat and calories. You eat the food in addition to what you ate before leaving you stuffed with the food now sitting in your stomach like a brick. Think about it – you’ve offended your host, wasted money, eaten junk, deteriorated your health and now feel lousy and yet you think this was smart?
The third scenario is the one God has called us to do. Imagine being invited to the house of that member of your family who is hailed as the cook of the clan. She is making your family’s favorite meal. She will spend the day in the kitchen, carefully preparing the food so that her love will be evident in every bite. Once you realize what you will be eating, you begin to prepare yourself for the meal. You eat a light breakfast early in the day and skip lunch altogether just to make room in your stomach and place a stronger desire in your mind to eat as much as you can. Seconds, thirds, coffee, and dessert will all be part of the evening. You will hover over the table just to absorb more of the total atmosphere of the meal. Even as the table is cleared and the kitchen cleaned, you will snitch extra bites and lobby for the leftovers. You will linger, leave reluctantly, and reflect back upon the meal for days to come.
God has prepared a table. The feast has been placed before us. The choice is ours…