by Marcia Lee Laycock, @MarciaLaycock
The signs are starting to pop up everywhere: ‘Book Now!’; ‘Reserve your table now!’. As we move into the Christmas season, a lot of the hotels and restaurants are pitching to companies and organizations of all kinds who will be looking for places to hold their Christmas parties and banquets.
Most of us have attended at least a few such gatherings in our life-time. Sometimes they are gala events with everyone dressed to ‘the nines’ or sometimes they’re small gatherings in a small venue where there are lots of opportunities to get to know one another. Ugly Christmas sweaters optional.
I saw one of these signs the other day and it made me think of the scriptures that talk about the banquet God has prepared for us. Psalm 23:5 says, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”
And in Matthew 22:2,3 Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.”
The story goes on to tell how the servants were instructed, again, to issue the invitation, but still, the people did not respond, but “went off, one to his field, another to his business” (v. 5). Then the servants were told to go out into the streets and invite anyone they saw so the banquet hall would be filled. One of those guests did not bother to change his clothes before attending and things did not go well for him.
As someone who loves good food, it seems unlikely to me that anyone would refuse an invitation to a lavish banquet, yet, in a spiritual sense, many of us do just that. We are so caught up in the things of the world that we cannot see what God has laid out before us. We go to our ‘fields’ and ‘businesses’ and pay no attention to what God is offering. Or worse, we go to the banquet only for what we can get, not to bring honour to the Son.
This reminds me, too, of another scripture that says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).
Notice the focus in that verse. It is His kingdom and His righteousness, not our own.
Only when we strive for that perspective will we be ready to receive the gifts of the kingdom that God has prepared for us. Only then will we be able to enter into a relationship with the Son.Only then will we be prepared to do His work on this earth.
As writers, part of that work is to help others open their eyes not only to what is on that banquet table, but to the reason why it has been prepared. Through story and poetry, it is our task to make it so desirable that they are drawn to it, and drawn to the One who has prepared it.
May He find us ready. May he find us faithful.
Desperate to escape his past, the police, and especially, God, Alex Donnelly picks a good place to hide – the Yukon wilderness – but he finds even there he is pursued. What will it take for him to discover that no matter how far you run, God will find you, and no matter what you have done, God will forgive you?
Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor’s wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone was shortlisted in The Word Awards. Marcia also has four devotional books in print and has contributed to several anthologies. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan.