Saturday, May 3, 2014

Bare Cupboards

(Administrator's Note:  This post was originally published July, 2010.  I hope it blesses you, even if you've read it before.)

“He dines with you because you have invited Him into your heart, and you dine with Him because He brings the provisions.  He could not commune with you if it were not in your heart, you providing the house; and you could not fellowship with Him if He did not bring the provisions with Him, because you have a bare cupboard.”  (C.H. Spurgeon)

The ease with which we satisfy physical hunger or thirst has become to us something we take for granted.  All it usually takes is the opening of a fully-stocked cupboard or refrigerator, a visit to a drive-through window or restaurant, or a stop at a local grocery or convenience store to secure life’s necessities.  We automatically turn on a water tap and fill a glass to slake our thirst.  Because nourishment is so essential to our survival, we eat and drink so routinely that, unless hunger pangs drive us, we rarely give it a second thought.

There are times when we graciously invite others to dine with us.  Extra effort is taken in the preparation of the event.  The best china and silverware is brought out and the table is attractively adorned to please the eye of our guests.  But what if, when going to your cupboard like Old Mother Hubbard, you find it bare?  The meager scraps you discover in your pantry are barely enough to serve yourself, rather than your invited guest.  Your pocketbook is empty.  It is late and the stores are closed.  Your guest is due to arrive soon and you have nothing with which to feed him.  You brace yourself to face the embarrassment of having to send him away with an empty stomach.

The appointed time comes and you hear a knock on the door.  Shame over your poverty washes over you.  You wonder if it would be better to ignore the person waiting for you to invite him in by pretending you are not home.  But the knock is persistent and as you slowly open the door, you lift your guilty eyes to his smiling face and notice his arms are loaded with bags and wrapped packages.  Your first thought adds more guilt as you think he must have brought gifts as thanks for your invitation.  Flowers.  Perhaps a good bottle of wine he expects to share with you over the meal he thinks awaits him.  You wonder if you should try and explain your situation to him and send him away.  But as you open the door wider so he can enter, he thrusts the bulging packages into your arms and you realize their contents contain everything you needed for your meal - and more.

Stepping back in awe and wonder, you invite him to come in the rest of the way.  As he steps through the door, the room brightens with his warmth and you realize the depth of the love he brings with him.  Somehow, he knew what you lacked in the way of provisions.  Somehow, he knew beforehand that your cupboard was bare and that you had nothing to offer him but yourself.  So, unbeknownst to you, he prepared everything that was needed in advance and bore the gifts to your door.  His desire to have your company was so great that he made sure there was nothing lacking so that his fellowship with you would be made complete.

To add to your wonder, he sits you down to rest and prepares the meal himself.  But it is more than just a meal; more than what even you had mentally prepared.  It is a feast fit for princes and kings.  Unimaginable delicacies are spread across your table.  Aromas and exotic flavors flood your senses as your guest serves you before seating himself to dine.  The evening stretches on in laughter and joy.  You delight in his company and he delights in yours.  It is perfect and nothing more could be added to its perfection.

As your guest rises to leave, he promises you he will return.  A lasting friendship has been struck and you believe he will keep his word.  As he departs, the glow of his presence remains in the room.  You realize he left a part of himself behind, a spirit that will always be present.  

As you begin clearing the table, you are amazed at the amount of leftovers.  Carefully wrapping them, you approach your empty cupboard where you will place them for another meal.  As you open it, your eyes widen in surprise.  It is no longer bare!  Rather, each shelf is lined with provisions.  You begin opening other cupboards and to your amazement, they are also stocked full of everything necessary to sustain you.  And as you remove one item, it is replaced with another, and another, until you realize you will never hunger or thirst again.

And the best part?  The next time he comes back, which he promised he would do, you will be more than ready to receive him.  He has made sure of that.

Our hearts can be likened to an empty and bare cupboard, void of the provisions necessary for eternal life.  But outside the door of our heart awaits the One Whose arms are teeming with the bounties needed to fill it.  All it takes to open the door to our heart is the realization of our brokenness, our sinfulness and deperate need for Him and what He brings, and a desire for the friendship and fellowship He is offering.

Don't be afraid to open the door.  What better Guest could you invite in to dine with you?  Even though you have nothing to offer, I assure you that if you do allow Him into your "house," your cupboard will never again be bare.

Additional reading:

2Kings 4:1-7; 42-44
Luke 9:10-17
John 4:4-15; 27-38
Revelation 3:20; 19:9

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