“On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine, the best of meats and the finest of wines” (Isaiah 25:6). Thanksgiving Feasts are a foretaste of heaven . . . friends and family around a table, old stories and jokes revisited, great food, perhaps a roaring fire in the fire place, with laughter, joy, delight and gratitude abounding. However, Isaiah’s next verse is also just as encouraging:
“On this mountain [The Lord} will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations - He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces.” (vs 7)
The reality for many is that holidays like Thanksgiving are not always a time to rejoice. Memories of loved ones who have died, past mistakes, broken relationships, illness, or financial stresses can make holidays a painful time. What a promise the Lord makes to us: All those who have received His beloved Son Jesus will one day be invited to the feast of all feasts at the end of the ages in His honor. And for those the promise is given: death is defeated, tears of shame, regret and remorse are wiped away forever, and the Lord will indeed “make all things new”.
As we head into Advent and Christmas, may the God who has in store for us more than we can ever hope or imagine sustain us through the joys and sorrows of this present life until we reach the Great Banquet and feast with Him forever.
King David had a passion to build God’s temple almost all his life. But God said “no”, it was not for David to build but for his son Solomon to do so. So David made plans for the building of a temple he would never worship in. He mobilized the federal treasury and gave billions of dollars. Then, he opened up his personal finances and gave extravagantly. From there, he gathered the leaders and invited them to ‘consecrate themselves to the Lord”; ie give themselves to God’s work. They caught the vision and gave abundantly and willingly. When the people saw what was being done, they rejoiced at the “free and wholehearted” giving of their leaders. David praised God for the privilege of being able to give.
In I Chronicles 29, we see a biblical pattern at work: The vision, determination, willingness, and the generosity of leaders to do God’s work sets the tone and opens the door for people to follow. Willing and cheerful sacrifice leads to more willing and cheerful sacrifice. David's wholehearted commitment, vision, and sacrifice is contagious. And the people rejoice. No one is coerced, no one is manipulated. When leaders catch a vision for what God is doing, there is a sense of immense privilege for being able to join God in a great work. When God calls for a big ministry offensive, one that requires faith, obedience, commitment, and sacrifice, He starts working on the leaders, pouring out faith, changing hearts, and giving wholehearted commitment to what He is doing. In the end, people are moved to realize all they have is God’s and offer back to Him what is rightfully His.
About the ResBlog
Members of staff and Vestry will be posting on the ResBlog to help us think through who we are in light of the gospel so that we might “spur one another on to love and good deeds.”