I’ll never forget the first time I head those four magic words. You’ve heard them too.
What images popped into your mind when you first heard the words: “All you can eat”?
As aspiring athletes, my football teammates and I gladly accepted the “buffet challenge.” I’m not sure how many slices of pizza I consumed, but I was proud of myself and I’m sure the restaurant was relieved to see me waddle out the door.
When the new year rolls around I frequently joke about going on the Golden Corral diet and “buffet-ing” my body as the old King James version used to read. I do laps around the buffet table like the 12 tribes did around Jericho. After 7 laps, I give a loud shout, “Get out of my way!” and then all bets are off. As I’ve gotten older I’ve had to cut down on my visits to the buffet tables – at least when people are looking!
Did you know Jesus talked about those four magic words? Okay, he didn’t specifically say, “All you can eat,” but in Matthew 9 He said, “The harvest is plentiful.” Some translations read “great” or “abundant.” I like the way the Common English Bible puts it, “The size of the harvest is bigger than you can imagine.”
So, in a sense, He’s saying go get all you want. The harvest is plentiful, abundant, “Bigger than you can imagine.” There is no shortage in the field.
So my question for us as believers is, are we hungry? Will we take Jesus at His word and gather all we can, all we desire, or will we stay in our buildings and wonder why no one is coming?
In Luke 14 Jesus tells the parable of the banquet, a feast fit for a king – but no one wants to come. He broadens the invitation yet there are still vacant seats. In one last attempt to fill his table, he tells his servants to go into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in so his table will be full.
So you see, there is plenty, an abundance, if you will, on both sides. God offers a feast for all who will come and there is no shortage of people to fill those seats – if we’ll go get them.
Those who don’t know Jesus are hungry for something more than the life they live. They’ve been eating at the world’s buffet and they’re still hungry. They’re looking, searching, hoping for more to life than what they’re currently experiencing. They just don’t know how to get to the table – but you do.
That’s one of the reasons we’re still here, to tell people there is seat for them. There is a meal fit for a king and prepared by the King. They don’t know they’re invited.
We’ve got their invitation, what are we going to do with it? What if we actually decided to go for it? What if we used every possible strategy to make sure they get an opportunity to say, “Yes!” to the only One who can fill their lives with purpose meaning, and hope. Our message has eternal consequences and rewards. Jesus commands us to go. It would be a tragedy if we chose to stay.