Sunday, April 3, 2011

God Came to Dinner

Suppose God came to your house for dinner. How would you behave? How would you treat Him? Many of us would no doubt be on our absolute best behavior, fix the nicest meal possible, and show Him every respect, courtesy, and social grace expected by hostesses of our time period. We would want the dinner to be as perfect as possible in order to either impress (if such a thing were possible!) or show our respect and love for God.

That is how it should be....but let me tell you about a time God came to dinner, and met with rudeness, ridicule, and rejection.

God came to dinner. A wealthy man had invited Him. One of thousands who had long looked for His coming, this man of political and religious power should have welcomed God with open arms, rejoicing in the fact that he had the inexpressible honor of playing "host" to God for the evening. But God came to dinner, and this man neither knew Him, nor received Him.

God came to dinner, and in a time when it was an expected courtesy to wash your guest's feet to remove the grime and filth of travel (after all, they wore sandals and traveled on the same dirt roads that animals used! think about that...), to anoint him with perfumed oil to hide the stench of sweat mingled with body odor, and to greet him with a kiss, the God of the universe was snubbed, and had none of these social graces administered. God came to dinner...and He was rejected, reviled, mocked intentionally and without remorse. All who saw knew that the master of the house cared nothing for the Master of Creation--that the man was openly snubbing His Maker. God came to dinner, and received a "slap" in the face.

God came to dinner, and blinded by his own self righteousness and perceived importance, the host saw nothing in his Messiah but an unattractive, poor carpenter with fanatical views. The man had long looked for the coming of the "Promised One," but when He came to his house, the host only showed disdain for His person and message. God came to dinner, and no one cared.

But did. An uninvited guest--a sinful woman of questionable character came to the dinner that night. Weeping, she made her way to the table, and came and knelt at His feet. The host had failed to wash His feet, but the woman washed His filthy feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair. The host did not offer Him a kiss of welcome, but the woman covered His feet with kisses. The host had not offered Him any ointment to cover the smells of travel, but the woman brought an alabaster box of ointment, and poured it on His feet.

God came to dinner, and an uninvited guest showed Him love, gratitude, and acceptance. God came to dinner, and showed that He was indeed God by forgiving the woman of her sins. God came to dinner, and though rejected by His host, He received glory, adoration, and love from the heart of a grateful and repentant sinner who alone recognized Who He truly was.

Has God ever come to your "house" for "dinner"? How did you treat Him? Jesus said that "...inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

Have you ever seen a person you judged as a great sinner because of how they looked on the outside (covered in piercings, tattoos, dressed immodestly, exhibiting an angry/bitter spirit, etc.), and started judging them instead of loving and praying for them? I have. Yet perhaps those are the very people whom God would have us love and win to Him! Perhaps we should learn to not focus on their outward appearance, but on their hearts and souls that are in desperate need of a Savior's love and forgiveness.

Or, have you ever seen a fellow believer who maybe didn't have the same values as you, or looked poor, ugly, undesirable, or unpopular, whom you didn't want to associate with due to the implications it might have on your reputation? I have done this also. How foolish! God is in that person, and how sorrowful He must be as He watches us snub one of His own children!

God comes to our "house" for "dinner" so often--almost every day--and yet how often do we actually recognize Him, and receive Him? We are no better than that self righteous Pharisee who invited Jesus to his home for dinner so long ago (Luke 7:36-50)!

Oh that God would open our eyes and our hearts to see the "least" person He has sent into our lives, so that when He "comes to dinner" through them, we could treat them with the respect, love, and honor that HE deserves.

These are just a few of the thoughts running through my head today, inspired by the sermon my father preached at church this morning.

Oh that I loved my Savior as He deserves! Oh that I felt the gratitude for His great sacrifice on the cross that I should! For if I did, then that love and gratitude would pour out of me into others, thereby obeying the second greatest commandment, to love my neighbor as myself. For only by obeying the first and greatest commandment ever given, can I even hope to obey the second.

"...A lawyer, asked [Jesus] a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matthew 22:35-40).

Seeking to know and love the Lover of my soul,