Have you ever been invited to a real feast? I mean an incredible feast where you walk into the dining room and there before you a beautiful buffet. You are overwhelmed by the wonderful smells that surround you as you walk by the table.  The au deurves! The aroma is so humm. Even The vegetables makes your mouth water. And then you walk by the main course and you again are overwhelmed by a perfect aroma that is hard to describe.

And then…you leave!  You walk out of the banquet hall!  What?! You leave after that incredible preview?  You didn’t sample any of the buffet? What did you miss? The aromas were out of this world but what was the taste like? Why did you not taste it? How could you have had this incredible opportunity to sample perfection and do nothing?

In Psalm 34:8 we read “taste and see that the Lord is good”. Or rephrased, see and taste that the Lord is good.

Quiz: What was Jesus first miracle?  In the second chapter of John we are told that Jesus was in attendance at a wedding reception when the wine had run out. At His mother’s urging, Jesus turns 150 gallons of water into superb wine in order to keep the party going.  Why would he do that?  Did he want to get everyone inebriated?  No! The answer is that this “miracle” symbolized why Jesus came — to bring joy to our lives.

So we have this incredible buffet, and now we have superb wine and we are now ready…for what?  Jonathan Edwards, in his famous sermon, “ a divine and supernatural light” makes this statement: “there is a difference between believing that God is holy and gracious, and having a new sense in the heart of the loveliness and beauty of that holiness and grace. The difference between believing that God is gracious and experiencing that graciousness is as different as having a belief that honey is sweet and having the actual experience of tasting the sweetness.”

Can you think of a time when you actually “tasted” God’s grace? I can recall a time several years ago, loaded down with guilt because of something that had happened the day before, sitting in a church in Chicago, early for the Sunday service, listening to Paul Winter, the famous alto saxophone player, playing an introduction to the worship service.  That beautiful music surrounding me and then I sensed God’s grace washing over me.  At that moment, my depression and guilt were gone and I knew that this was God’s grace.  In a real and tangible way I could taste (experience) that the Lord is good.

Timothy Keller, in his excellent book, The Prodigal God, makes this statement:  “Jesus’ salvation is a feast, and therefore when we believe in and rest in his work for us, through the Holy Spirit he becomes real to our hearts. His love is like honey, or like wine. Rather than only believing that he is loving, to sense the reality, the beauty, and the power of his love. His love can become more real to you than the love of anyone else.”

Ah, that is hard to get our mind around.  God’s love is more than the love of our closest loved one!  I believe that if we knew the depth, the breath, and the height of God’s love we might be terrified! That love goes far beyond our ability to understand it. That love goes far beyond where our imagination can take us. That love encompasses us even when we, by our own judgment, have been totally and completely unlovable!  God’s love, like God’s grace, is never-ending, is all-encompassing and is there for us regardless.

So don’t leave the banquet hall without sampling the wonderful buffet that God has laid out for us. Inhale the wonderous aromas and sample the delicacies of grace. And don’t miss the entrée, the prize, that God loves us, truly and completely, and that God is in charge of all that would touch our lives. Don’t miss that.

May God’s grace and His blessings flow over you through out the new year, 2017!

For What It’s Worth.