A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. – Luke 14:16
When I was boy, my family used to go to my grandmother’s house for those two great special food occasions: Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Thanksgiving always had the turkey, which my Jewish grandmother cooked in a paper sack to keep it moist. Does anyone remember that? On New Year’s, we usually had a leg of lamb or prime rib. My mom’s parents weren’t hurting for cash, and it showed when we ate.
My grandmother also had one of those beautiful, cherry-wood china cabinets with the glass doors so you could show off all the beautiful dishes you only brought out on Thanksgiving and New Year’s and, for her family, Passover. She also had one of those velvet-lined boxes that contained all her sterling silver place settings, including those big spoons and that funny piece shaped like a slice of pie. Grandpa’s duty on those special days, of course, was to teach the grandkids how to play poker and Chinese checkers, have quarters come out of ears and noses and make funny noises with their hands, all to the delight of the kids and the dismay of grandma.
These were the times when our family got out the best – the best food, the best silverware, the best tablecloth, the best clothes, and briefly, until grandpa entered the room, the best behavior. A table had been prepared, and since the grandkids got to eat first, it always felt like everything had been prepared just for us.
Wanting to give our family the best we have is a direct imitation of God’s desire to give us the best. He prepares for us, anticipates our arrival, has everything taken care of. If we, trying to be gracious guests, call ahead and say, “Is there anything we can bring?” God doesn’t say, “Yes, we need more rolls.” No, everything is prepared, so God says, “Just bring yourself.”
Entrance to the Banquet is by invitation only. The good news is that all are invited. The bad news is that not everyone has accepted the invitation. When I went to my grandmother’s home, I didn’t have to earn my way in – I was welcome because we had a relationship.
I’m looking forward to that table God has prepared of us and I’m grateful for my relationship Him. There may not be magic tricks and funny noises to laugh at when we get to Heaven, but I’m sure it will be the best Banquet the universe will ever see.