Come and Eat
Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’” Luke 14:16-17 (NIV)
I love to think back to the years when I enjoyed Thanksgiving with my parents or Howard’s family. Turkey, cornbread dressing, and coconut pie—oh, the memories! Howard’s mom began planning weeks in advance, and it was not uncommon for her to have the list of items she had prepared attached to the refrigerator door in case she forgot what she had cooked! We spent most of our Thanksgivings with Howard’s family since his birthday always falls right around Thanksgiving. Being with his family required traveling eight hours to Arkansas so the most planning I ever did was to make sure I wore clothing with an elastic waist in case I decided to go back for seconds. My heart filled with gratitude as soon as I heard, “Come and eat!” You may wonder if I ever thought of Thanksgiving as a time to count blessings instead of counting my desserts!
My mother-in-law prepared Thanksgiving Dinner for over twenty people until the age of 94, and I knew how much time, energy, and expense she put into making our time together special. Imagine if I had said, “We aren’t hungry. We stopped by McDonalds on our way to your house.” Or envision the hurt and disappointment on her face had I checked Twitter, Facebook or email while she offered me a feast of delicious food and special moments with the family around the table.
When Jesus was on earth, He referred to Himself as the Bread of Life. And He was very clear that if we tasted of Him, we would see that He is good. He offered us an amazing personal invitation to come to Him to find all that we need in Him alone! Jesus’ invitation is open and waiting for each of us. Can you imagine responding by saying, “Thanks for offering Yourself to us, but we aren’t hungry. We have already eaten and found our fulfillment in lesser things than You.” Just as ridiculous as eating McDonald’s instead of enjoying the delicious food my mother-in-law had prepared would be, it is even more ridiculous to try to satisfy the longing of our hearts with anything other than a relationship with Jesus. As often as I have insulted Jesus by trying to satisfy my own appetites, He continues to offer me the invitation to come to Him.
Jesus also tells us that if we come to Him, He will give us rest. He offers to carry our regrets, poor decisions, and burdens so we can enjoy Him and enter into the rest He alone can provide. As I reflect on the many Thanksgiving dinners I have enjoyed with my family, I laugh when I remember eating until I was so full that the only reason I rested was to have the energy to get up off the couch to eat again! Both my mom and my mother-in-law are with Jesus now, and I only have these precious memories to cherish. I look forward to the time when I will sit with them at the marriage supper of the Lamb prepared for us by Jesus Himself.
Jesus invites us to come to Him to find all we need in Him. He reminds us He alone is the giver of life. When life’s struggles begin to burden us, and we find ourselves tired and weary, He invites us to come and rest in Him. As we have just celebrated Thanksgiving, I pray we will remember the Bread that nourishes our soul and the invitation to find rest in Him. Thanksgivings will come and go, but Jesus’ invitation is offered to us daily. I pray we take time to shut out the other voices calling us and listen closely. And when we do, we will hear Jesus say, “I have prepared the table. Come, eat, and find your rest in Me.”
Further ReadingMatthew 11:28; John 7:37; Mark 6:31; John 6:48