I love hosting dinner parties. Preparing food, cleaning the house and all of the seemingly endless details around having guests for dinner brings me joy. I would rather have fifty people come to my home than going somewhere else for dinner.
I think this is because everything I need, all the aspects of living that are positive exist in my home. My home is tailored to fit for me and my family, designed specifically to fulfill our needs and desires. It is not perfect, nothing on earth is, but it is home and that word means so much more than house.
The day before Easter my wife and I decided to invite a family for dinner. This kind of spontaneous no-planning living is common with us so we sprang into action and the realm of barely controlled chaos began. I worked on the menu while my wife and two children launched an assault on the house. Laundry was being processed while I completed the inventory of supplies and marking the shopping list. Off to the stores we went, she to Costco for steaks and me to a market for the small stuff.
Arriving back home I began to fret over the timing factor the next day. It was Sunday, and Easter Sunday at that. We serve in various parts of the ministry and having enough time to get the work done was an issue. The solution was to do as much preparation Saturday night that we could.
I prep cooked a chicken and walnut stir fry, slow cooked Swedish Meatballs, roasted some of Idaho’s finest for twice backed potatoes, and marinating steaks while my daughter worked on a spice cake and peanut butter cookies. Around the time we were preparing the table God’s invisible hand entered the room. My wife said, “We should use the new flatware from Christmas”. This was a great idea since we purchased the flatware just for dinners like this.
The gleaming flawless flatware changed the entire picture of the table. No longer did our everyday plates look so well and as I was frowning at them my wife surprised me with two boxes of new plates. She had received those months ago as a gift and just never had a chance to use them. Adding these to the table made a huge difference. The serving dishes were replaced with precious crystal and white porcelain and before long what started as an everyday dinner table became a fancy banquet.
Sunday came and the rains held back until the last steak came off the grill. Our guests arrived just as the last preparations were completed and the delight on their faces made all the effort worth it. We sat down to enjoy a feast of food and fellowship and the evening was filled with laughter and joy.
Of course the activity of the night was so intense that I did not appreciate the message God was sending to me. It took me until Monday to figure out that in our little dinning room God was showing me what he is doing in Heaven. My family and I had prepared a banquet ahead of time on the chance that we would have guests come join us for a feast. Anything could have happened to ruin our plans but we walked forward in faith that the event would be joyous. We set a table, prepared food and did all that we could to make it the best of what we had to be a blessing to our Christian family members.
Jesus said he has gone to prepare a place for us in Heaven and it will be the best that He can offer. He is working on the odd chance that some will show up and enjoy it with him. I look back and remember the joy we had in putting our dinner together and I picture how Jesus feels towards us. The blessing I received by seeing this picture was priceless and humbling.
The next time I am working till 1:00 am to play host I will remember my Father in Heaven working on that special place for all of us in his Kingdom.
Copyright Michael Wilmot May 2005
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