The following is a devotion that Pastor Steve Pridmore from Two Rivers Church in South Florida. Church at the Bay is a sponsor for this new church (it started Easter 2010) and God is doing some cool things there.
I used to think; “If you’ll tell me where they are I’ll send em whatever this stuff is I’m eating…”
The motivation behind this concern is that a parent wants their child to appreciate and consequently be good stewards of what they have. It’s true that in our country, we’ve become comfortable with waste. We take for granted the things that we have like food, clothing, and shelter; to us essentials, but to others, luxuries.
It’s really not any different in the church.
Week after week, we leave a lot of food on our plates, and the result is waste.
Here’s what I mean…
Every time the church comes together around God’s purposes, we invoke God’s presence, and when God’s Spirit shows up, He satisfies peoples needs. He fulfills their deepest hunger, the longing of their souls, and He quenches the thirst that every man possesses for more than they have, more than they are, and more than they are doing. (see John 7:37-39)
And yet, Sunday after Sunday, we leave food on the plate.
The Spirit of God is faithful to show up and to do the miraculous yet there are hundreds, thousands, millions of people around us that don’t experience it; they don’t eat. They didn’t have their need met. They weren’t healed. Their marriage wasn’t saved. Their sin wasn’t forgiven. Their joy wasn’t restored. Their hopelessness wasn’t met with the eternal hope of the Gospel.
One simple, sad reason. They weren’t invited.
No one told them. No one brought them. No one said they were welcome.
In Matthew 22, Jesus tells a parable about God’s Kingdom. He says that the Kingdom of God is like a story about a king who prepares a great feast for his son and invites a number of guests who don’t show up. It angers the king that he’s gone to such lengths to prepare this meal and the guests stand him up, so he instructs his servants to go out in the streets and invite anyone they can find.
In verse 10 it says; “So the servants brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the banquet hall was filled with guests.”
What we discover about God’s heart is two things. The first is that everyone is welcome in His Kingdom. He doesn’t discriminate or have a bar set so high that only certain ones get in. Did you notice it said they brought the “good and bad alike”?
The second thing we see is that God expects us to bring them; to get them to the table.
He’ll feed them, we just have to go and get them in.
What’s the application?
God has placed people in our lives that we have a built in concern for; our family, friends, neighbors, and close acquaintances, but what about everyone else?
What about the lady in the checkout line at Publix, or the man collecting tolls on the turnpike? How bout the kid that sits next to you in homeroom or the girl that we walk past to our seat on the bus?
What if it’s less about our relationship to someone and more about the invitation God wants to extend through us to people that are starving for a meal He’s preparing every week?
This past Sunday we put a tool in your hands, an invitation card, that we’re believing God will use if we’re faithful to give it out.
Let’s make it a habit of our lives to invite whomever, whenever, wherever to come, “taste and see that the Lord is good”, and let’s decide not to leave any food on the plate!
Now’s the time!