(Revelation 19:7-9, Matthew 22:5-6, Ephesians 2:4-7, 1st John 3:1)
There is a sweetness that fills the house when the dinner table is full of guests. The menu is planned to perfection; the house is sparkling clean. The demands of the work week are quieted and the lengthy to-do lists are put away from view. The guests are welcomed and coats are taken.
Friendsgiving is a celebration of loyalty, of doing life together, of forgiveness.
At my house, a new tradition began a few years ago- Friendsgiving. On this special night, dear friends gather around the table, each bringing a dish to add to the feast. The conversation is never awkward. The food is delicious. Laughter is in great supply. Friendsgiving is a celebration of loyalty, of doing life together, of forgiveness. Sharing a meal with my brothers and sisters in the Lord is, to me, one of the sweetest blessings the Father has given to his people.
Let us rejoice and exaltRevelations 19:7-9
And give him the glory,
For the marriage of the Lamb has come,┬á
And his Bride has made herself ready;┬á
It was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure-
For the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.┬á
And the angel said to me, ΓÇ£Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb,ΓÇ¥ And he said to me, ΓÇ£These are the true words of God.ΓÇ¥
John describes a feast to which no Friendsgiving could compare. The church, the Bride of Christ, gathers around the table to sit with her King. The one for whom our hearts have longed is sitting across the table in this heavenly scene. We are clothed in fine linen, the ΓÇ£righteous deeds of the saintsΓÇ¥ and adorned in the love of our Father. The conversation is full of rejoicing. The food, beyond description. Joy is in great supply.
But if it wasnΓÇÖt for GodΓÇÖs grace, I have to wonder, would I be at that dinner? Sure, I would still be invited, as all are. But, I have ways of resisting the invitation. We all do.
In Matthew, Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a wedding feast a king gave for his son. When the feast was prepared, the king sent his servants to call those who were invited to the celebration but the guests resisted.
Again he sent out his servants, saying, ΓÇ£Tell those who are invited ΓÇÿSee, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.ΓÇ¥ But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business.┬áMatthew 22:5-6
The guests knew the king, knew of the exquisite feast that awaited them, and still chose another pursuit. They paid no attention to the invitation. ItΓÇÖs easy to read this parable and judge the foolish guests passing up such a gift and not see how similarly I resist GodΓÇÖs invitation to me, paying his grace such little attention. If I really believe I have a place at the table with the King of the universe, then why am I so concerned with my place at the table at work? If I know the heavenly company awaiting me at the table, then why am I so anxious when my earthly company rejects me or disapproves of me? If the invitation is sent and the King is waiting, then why do I delay so I can have more time to relax, to enjoy some ΓÇ£me-timeΓÇ¥, to explore all the world has to offer me?
Thank the Lord for his grace given without obligation. Though I was lost in my sin, He invited me to share in His goodness. Though I resisted, he relentlessly pursued. Though I was so far from Him, He welcomed me even so.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses made us alive together with Christ- by grace you have been saved- and raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness to us in Christ Jesus.Ephesians 2:4-7
If you know the One whom to know is life eternal, the marriage feast of the Lamb awaits you, too. The cross gave you a seat at that table. GodΓÇÖs rich mercy looked beyond your shame and reputation and through the death and resurrection of Jesus gave you a new identity. His blood sealed your heavenly destiny. This is the real future awaiting GodΓÇÖs children. Do not resist the invitation.
When our hearts are heavy with the concerns of this life, we hold on to the true words of God.
ΓÇ£These are the true words of God.ΓÇ¥ This real future is what we, as believers, cling to when GodΓÇÖs voice is quiet and when the allure of the world is loud. When our hearts are heavy with the concerns of this life, we hold on to the true words of God. When sin is crouching at the door of our hearts, we hold on to the true words of God. When circumstance is bleak, we hold on to the true words of God. He IS the real thing. Our eternal future IS the real thing.
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.┬á1 John 3:1
And so we are.
Father, thank you that I belong in HeavenΓÇÖs destiny. Thank you for the cross. Keep my heart ever mindful of your great love for me.
When you sit down for a meal at your dining table, take a moment to remind your heart that this table is temporary and an eternal table is awaiting you in Heaven.