It's because every taste is incredible. Each bite a delight. A symphony of flavors and aromas, all coming together in a delectable and satisfying repast. It is a once a year meal that you wish you could eat every day (if only you didn't gain 5 pounds!) And it's not just the food, but it's the company too. We are all together enjoying this meal, this fellowship. A common bond, a uniting activity. One of my greatest joys is cooking for people. Making food they don't normally get. Baking treats and having the reward of seeing the joy and delight on their faces as they taste it. It gives me pleasure to see their pleasure. So as much as I may be giving, I am also receiving.
We have a God who feels the same way. He delights in delighting us. He gets pleasure in seeing us blessed and content. He gets great satisfaction and gladness out of our joy. How do we attain that joy? Well, it is kind of like that Thanksgiving meal. We have to take the time to sit with Him, to fellowship with Him, to taste and see that He is good. We have to make the time to have companionship with Him. Psalm 16:11 says, "You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." (ESV) In His presence there is fullness of joy. Fullness, like that fullness after Thanksgiving dinner; our stomach almost bursting, but looking forward to having another taste. Satisfied, but our hunger never completely alleviated, our thirst never totally quenched. Always wanting more, and that's even before dessert is served.
The way to know Him, the way to spend time in His presence is explained in the few words at the beginning of that verse. We have to come to know the path of life. And we know that Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (ESV) Jesus is the path of life. He is the way into the presence of the Father. Salvation through Jesus means an invitation to the marriage feast, the banquet above all banquets; grander than any dinner I have ever planned or attended. The thing is though, Jesus said He is the way, or in other words, the path. And a path is not just one step. It is a route, or course, a narrow walkway. It is the avenue towards something, the passage to another place. That path is the way to not only heaven and everlasting communion with God, but it is the track that we walk on here in our life on earth. It is the way we are to go while we are existing here on earth , but always knowing that we are heavenly bound.
When I make my Thanksgiving preparations, I am not thinking of just the ingredients to buy, the cooking times for all the different items I am making, the way I am going to set the table. I am also thinking of who I am going to share that meal with. Of course it will be with whatever family is here and available. My daughter doesn't live locally anymore and I miss her so much at these family gatherings. But I also invite others to come. Sometimes it is close friends, or people who are alone at the holidays. Sometimes it is an acquantance that I may not necessarily want to spend time with, but my heart is filled with compassion at the thought of them missing out on a feast and day of celebration because they have no one to share it with. As we walk on this path in life, in the hope of being in His presence, our thoughts should not only dwell on being full ourselves, but on sharing that joy with others. When I think of the joy that people take in eating a meal I have prepared, that pales in comparison to thinking of the joy that they will have when they become part of the family of God. If I delight in sharing a bite of tender turkey and savory mashed potatoes, shouldn't I delight more in the thought that they will taste and see that the Lord is good and enter into a life that will bring more contentment and pleasure than any temporal meal? I want them to know that just like eating that tasty morsel, just like savoring that delectable tidbit, that their walk with Jesus is filled with exquisite and enticing things. A life with Christ is filled with more than we can imagine. If we just look, we will be amazed. It is not only filled with the knowledge of our salvation and all that entails, it comes along with His Holy Spirit. And that is not all, the Holy Spirit is like the Matryoshka doll. It is not one doll, it is filled with many dolls; one inside another, inside another. When we open up the present of the Holy Spirit we see gifts galore; wisdom, knowledge, the gift of faith, the gift of healing. But since we are talking about food here, let's look at the fruit of the Spirit. Galations 5:22, 23a, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control," (ESV). Right now fruit is in season. Everywhere I drive I see fruit trees, overladen with ripe delicious fruit; an abundance to go around. Apples, apricots, peaches, cherries. Oh, the taste of fruit picked off the tree, sweet and juicy. What a treat! All of that fruit available for all, the sharing of it makes it even better. The same with the fruit of the Spirit. It is not ours to hoard for ourselves. It is given to us so that others can share in the harvest. We are to love others. And that love means sharing the gospel. We are to spread joy to all around us. This is hardest for me. I am not an exuberant person, I am introverted and don't show a lot of what I feel. But I hope that others see a contentment in me that exhibits the Lord's presence in my life. Peace, we are to be peacemakers and demonstrate that to others, whether they seem to deserve it or not. Patience; again, another hard one! We have this abundance given to us, and we have not only the responsibility, but the privilege of sharing it with others. Nothing makes me sadder, and yes a bit angry than driving by a home that has a house with fruit trees so overladen with fruit, that the branches are breaking, the fruit is falling off the tree and rotting on the ground. What a waste! Not only of the practical thing of feeding someone, giving them needed nutrients but also of others being robbed of a delicious taste of something sweet.
We have a table that needs to be filled. We have a feast that is being prepared. And though we have a gala meal available to us here, what we have waiting is a true fete. And as we think of having that joy, that delight, that gladness and pleasure, let us think of the fact that joy shared is joy multiplied. Let us work at getting that table filled, every seat taken and let us all be at that table filled to overflowing, sated and satisfied with the goodness of the Lord.