I was in two minds whether or not to put “pen to paper” and share these thoughts with you or not. They are not in any way complete but, they are something that I feel God has been speaking to me about recently.
I have been really challenged over the past few weeks over the way that I see. I do not mean that in the physical sense of the words but, I suppose the best way of describing it is, how I see.
This morning, as I sat with my Bible and had some time with God, I read a familiar passage that produced such strong feelings in me I needed to look carefully at why I felt as I did. I believe God brought me back to the same thought, it’s how I see that needed to be addressed.
I share these thoughts with you not as somebody who has arrived at my destination but, is on a journey.
So, my passage this morning was The Parable Of The Great Banquet. The story is of a man who plans a great celebration and invites guests to attend the banquet. It must have been a real honour to be on the guest list of the sumptuous feast that the host had put so much effort into. The story goes that each of the invited guests turns down the invitation with what appears to be pretty rubbish excuses.
The host calls his servants together and then sends them out to the “highways and bye ways” to drag in those who would not normally be seen amongst good company. If you want to read the passage in full, you can in Luke’s Gospel chapter 14 vs 15 – 24. Jesus tells us the hosts’ response;
I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.
(Luke 14 vs. 15 – 24)
When I have thought about this parable in the past, I have seen myself in the role of the servant. I am to go out and find those who will welcome an invitation to the feast.
Today was different, I was drawn to the character of the host. As I thought about the host I felt two very powerful emotion arise within me – disappointment and rejection.
I thought about the time and trouble that the host had put into the feast. I thought about the expense. I thought about how he would have gone to that extra trouble for his friends.
I also thought about the “slap in the face” that the excuses would have presented. The field would still be there tomorrow. The new oxen could be test driven tomorrow. As for the chap whose wife wouldn’t let him out, well…..
That’s the thing with friends they have the power to encourage and the power to disappoint. When we believe in our friends and they let us down, the hurt they cause is powerful. I don’t think there are many people who have gone through life without being disappointed by those we thought of as friends.
Now, here is the bit I wasn’t sure about sharing….
I am a Church minister. I am supposed to have this “Christianity thing” all together. I am meant to be mister nice guy. The shocking thing is I am also human and, therefore, I get disappointed – regularly!
As I sat with God, I felt He wanted me to talk to Him about my own disappointments. I don’t need to spell out names, dates and places. The horrible truth is that those occasions do, sometimes, raise their heads and they still hurt even after many years.
It’s not as if I haven’t forgiven, I have, on multiple occasions. I pray for God’s blessing on the people and the places but, there are times still when I feel the pain. I have to accept that those hurts run very deep and will take a long time to heal. I trust that God will bring me deeper into forgiveness and healing if I allow His Holy Spirit to keep working in my heart.
I think, what God was saying to me was, at the times those hurts arise change your focus. Look at what you have not at what you haven’t. Do not focus on the disappointment, focus on those who are with you, encouraging you, supporting you.
The host of The Great Banquet must have been disappointed at the lack of his ‘friends’ support but, in the process, he had made of lot of new friends he had never met before!
Does, maybe, God want to speak to you about changing your focus?