Written by Nate Lowe, Board Chairman of Run Hard. Rest Well.
This week I was reading Psalm 23.The Lord is my Shepherd. I’ve read it a thousand times. I shall not want. I memorized as a child. He makes me lie down in green pastures. I’ve studied it at length and read books about it. He leads me beside still waters. I know this song inside and out. He restores my soul. I love the gold buried in these short phrases.
But verse five has never made much sense to me. He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies. Why would He do that? What does this mean for me?
Then this thought occurred to me. I am in the presence of my enemies when I am in battle. What do soldiers eat during battle? Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) – A high-calorie, efficient, quick meal, designed to sustain me physically. It also has a shelf-life of 30 years.
But Jesus, the Good Shepherd, prepares a banquet table for us when we are in the middle of the battle. The Message says, You serve me a six course dinner right in front of my enemies. This is going to take some time. It is going to be good. We are going to have conversation.
My grandparents were farmers in Minnesota. They had a wood sign in the dining room that said, “Sit long. Talk much.” Who has time for that when there is a harvest to bring in? What about the battles raging all around me?
Jesus says, “Come to the table I have prepared for you. Let’s talk. Let’s enjoy each other’s company. Be refreshed. Be filled. Have another cup of coffee and another piece of pie. The battle is mine. I’ll fight for you.”
But how do I respond to this invitation? “No thanks, Jesus. I’ve got this pre-packaged MRE right here. I can scarf it down in five minutes and jump back into the fray. I’d rather have what someone else prepared for me. In fact, I just ate on Sunday morning. My pastor laid out a pretty nice buffet, and I took a few nuggets home with me. Since then, I’ve been getting by on fast food, ramen, granola bars, and corn nuts.” I too often settle for grab-n-go devotionals that temporarily assuage my need for spiritual sustenance, but rarely nourish my soul.
Jesus is standing before me, towel in hand, by a banqueting table He prepared for me. Ignored.
Then I thought of Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice, I will come in….and eat (dine, sup, commune) with him!” We will share a meal together as friends (NLT). He doesn’t just want to come in, he wants to dine with us. Are we satisfied with Him coming in, but not really interested in sitting down for a meal?
Speaking of Communion, I looked that word up too. The first definition is this: the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level. Hmmm. I’ve been limiting my Communion with Jesus to the ten-minute sacrament each month at church – the second definition.
I could go on and on, but this is already longer than normal.
My heart is challenged. My heart is broken. Don’t settle for the MRE in the trench. Pull up a chair. Spend some time at the table with Jesus. The feast is ready. Jesus is waiting for you.