Sunday, February 10, 2008

Missing the Feast

I began the day with such high hopes. I rose early and dressed quickly for church. Our pantry was nearly bare, so I woke the children a little early. I gave them twenty minutes to dress and brush their teeth before heading out to a restaurant for breakfast -- a rare Sunday morning treat! I looked forward to sitting peacefully together for a moment, and my mouth watered thinking of the sumptuous buffet that awaited us.

The children needed to get ready quickly to enjoy breakfast out, but instead they wrestled. They fought. They yelled and misplaced shoes. I was so disappointed. I knew the children would need stamina to make it through our busy day, but they barely had time to eat a bite before dashing out the door. Now their tummies would groan and their heads would ache, and the day would be much more difficult for everyone. I was so sad because I had wanted to give them a feast, but instead they chose crumbs.

Our hectic morning weighed heavily on me as I sat in Bible class, but gradually my frustration faded as we talked about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. I began to see parallels between our morning and the story unfolding in Mark 14. Jesus knew His crucifixion was imminent in this passage, so He took Peter, James and John with Him to the garden to pray. He knew they needed to prepare for the frightening times ahead. But instead of praying, the disciples fell asleep. So when temptation came, they fled. They denied Him. They cursed and swore. Then their spirits groaned and their hearts ached because they weren't ready.

Looking at the disciples, I realized that I too had missed a sumptuous buffet this morning. Although I prepared my body for worship, I didn't really prepare my heart. I neglected prayer and Bible study when I awoke, so I wasn't ready when temptation came. When the children disobeyed me, I wrestled with anger. I fought back tears. I raised my voice and lost my joy. I'm sure my Father knew that I would need patience this morning and hoped I would begin my day with feasting, but instead I chose crumbs.

I am thankful that even when we become spiritually malnourished, God is a loving Father who cares for our souls. Jesus promises, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled" (Matthew 5:6 NIV). A lavish buffet awaits. Let's go to the feast!
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