Enjoy the Buffet While It’s Here!

May 1st, 2008 • Category: Gospel of Luke
by Mark Shoup

Today’s scripture: Luke 5:33-39 (ESV-text and audio) (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Mark Shoup):

I lived out the first part of this scripture passage this past weekend, without even realizing it at the time. My friend Rodney, who happens to be the person who first invited me to attend our church, is moving out of town. One of his other friends threw a going away party in his honor, to which I was invited.

Upon arriving, I realized that his friend has spared no extravagance in laying out a lovely buffet of delicious food. In fact, it was a little too lovely, and I feared for the return of the couple of hard-lost pounds I had finally managed to shed after many weeks of reduced caloric intake. But there was caviar, and miniature ham and cheese croissants, and cheesecake! Knowing that I would be kept at the house for the next several days with my Scottish Terrier who was due to whelp puppies, and only have access to cold sandwiches and frozen dinners, I decided to enjoy the celebration and the feast. Besides, after that weekend, who knew how long it would be before I would see Rodney again?

Maddie and puppiesIt was a lovely party, and right on schedule, my dog Maddie began having puppies the very next day. Now, Maddie is a great mother, with one little exception — she has a track record of sitting on her puppies, which can kill them. So, for the first 48 or so hours, I have to position myself close to the whelping crate to listen for the faint cry of the little puppies, so that I can re-position their mama when she is smooshing them. This doesn’t allow for much time to prepare meals, and even though I was eating my Stouffers Lean cuisine dinner, I was thinking about marinated hibachi grilled chicken strips and other treats I had enjoyed at the recent party.

I think that is what Jesus is trying to get across with his bridegroom metaphor. He knew there would be lots of time for fasting and reflection after His short time here on earth. He wanted his followers to instead, live with him in the moment, and build up experience and teaching that they would later need. To expect brand new Christians to fast would be like asking someone who is already starving to go without food. There would be nothing to gain.

Thought for the day: Am I fasting in the Lord when I should be feasting?

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

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