You and I have to acknowledge that we are very privileged people. I wonder however if our comforts betray us. Could we be so accustomed to western prosperity that we are either anaesthetised by all that we have or consumed by a constant desire for more? Whether we are happy with our lot or not, the focus is very limited to temporary things and we become deadened to the reality of all that is behind and beyond what we now have.
The author of a book I’ve been reading talks about the ‘deadening effects of innocent delights’, that we ‘cover up what is inside of us with food and other things.’ and that even ‘good things can do us great harm.’ We are physically pampered, over-indulged, overly “sensualised”. In our constant eating, drinking, spending, saving, watching, exercising, working, playing we fail to allow ourselves to consider our deepest needs and the lasting joys that only God can give us.
Jesus told a story about a man who was putting on a great feast. The invitations had gone out and now, as was the custom, he sent out his servants to inform the guests the banquet was ready. One after the other the guests gave their last minute apologies. The first wanted to see a field he’d bought, the second some cattle and the third had got married. All good things but each caused them to miss out on the great banquet because they valued them more than honouring the host or the privilege of attending.
No big deal you might think. It was just a party. However, Jesus told the story to illustrate God’s invitation to us to ‘eat at the feast in the kingdom of God’, to enter into his home and enjoy his rich and eternal hospitality. The preoccupied missed out and it was the poor, crippled, blind and lame – those who realised their need and the amazingly kind and generous nature of the invitation who went in and enjoyed the lavish spread.
Are you in danger of missing out? Are you so full of the physical that you pay no attention to the hunger of your heart and soul? Are you so busy and preoccupied that you ignore the gracious invitation from God to come in to his abundance? Jesus Christ has made access possible. Take time to pause, to think, to search, to evaluate, to question. Ask yourself whether life is really only about the things you currently fill yourself and your time with. What is behind it and beyond it?
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The book Paul has been reading is ‘Hunger for God’ by John Piper and is highly recommend reading for all Christians.