A Banquet for All

  • April 11, 2014
  • #8335

Our world is hungry for Jesus. His Gospel has fed and nurtured us, so let’s share the Bread of Life with others.

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a great story from II Kings.

Okay, here’s the scene, it’s in chapter 7 and let me describe what’s happening here. The Syrians had surrounded the capital of Israel and the people inside were starving and desperate. As far as God's people were concerned, the Syrians were about to swallow them up. But unbeknownst to the Israelites, the Lord had sent the Syrian camp fleeing – the Syrians the night before had just up and left and left all their tents filled with food and treasure. Beyond the city walls, out in the desert, the Lord had spread out a rich banquet. The thing is, nobody knew it. And so, the famished people continued to eke out an existence on tree bark and bird dung.

Now enter the lepers in the city. They felt they were as good as dead, and so, realizing they had nothing to lose, they dared to venture outside the city. When they wandered into the empty camp of the enemy, they found the tents filled with abundant wine and meat and bread, not to mention silver and gold and other treasure. The lepers began to stuff their faces with food as well as their pockets with booty. However, the more they feasted, the emptier they felt. And finally, there was this “aha” moment: when they turned, ran and told the good news to their starving neighbors. They realized that they were only able to completely enjoy their stumbled-upon banquet when they shared it with others.

The moral of this story from II Kings, chapter 7 is simply this: The pleasures of God are never private pleasures. They are, as Dr. John Piper puts it, "always shared, always public, and communal." The joy we experience in our salvation is true, radiant and sincere only when we share it with others. It’s why the writers of the Bible say, "Let us exalt his name together." That word “together” is so key – God wants us to share the Good News so that more people are brought into the fold of the “together.”

The apostle John was another one who was so good at sharing God's pleasures with others. When he brought someone to the Lord, he’d call them, "my joy and my crown." John doubled his joy whenever he brought someone new to the good-news table. My motive in sharing this today with you is to help make the pleasures of God much more public. I feel like the leper out in the desert; somehow, someway, I’ve stumbled upon this incredible banquet of the Lord’s and I simply must pass the plate of God's blessings to as many people as I can. And the same should be true for you. It’s so true: The banquet of God's blessings for you will taste always taste sweeter if you invite someone to take a seat next to you. So volunteer at a soup kitchen; join a sewing circle to help provide clothes for the needy; help out at a food bank; serve at a crisis pregnancy center; give time at a rescue mission; or come and volunteer with us at a Joni and Friends’ Family Retreat this summer. It will not only increase that wonderful togetherness in God's family, it will give you a chance to pass the plate of God's blessings on to others as you tell them about the Good News, and show them just how great the Good News really is. Oh, and if you need a little inspiration, don’t forget to visit my radio page at joniandfriends.org where I’ve posted a video of my wonderful friend, Veronica Hache, who has given herself to serve others. Finally, friend, let me just ask one more question: What aspect of the Gospel can you share with someone today? Pass the platter to a person who's hungry and experience the joy!

© Joni and Friends

 

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