Monday, November 14, 2011
Please Pass the Valuables
Tonight you have laid out your best china and spent hours cooking a feast for your dearest friends. These are the people you love the most, brothers and sisters only hearts can join. You have shared many evenings like this, but tonight is different. You've had some tough times recently.
A week ago, Joe promised you that he would fix the bad fuel pump on your car, but never had time and the car quit half way to work. Yesterday, you weren't feeling well and Laura said she would take you to the doctor but slept through the appointment. John lost the first edition you lent him. Rachel lied about you, telling her family that you'd been expelled for cheating in college. Randy finally decided that he'd waited long enough for your job, deliberately undermined your best account, and your boss fired you. Your friends, every one, have hurt or betrayed you.
But no one can tell tonight. You laugh, reminisce about the good times, and raise glasses in tribute to one another. Then, instead of dessert, you bring out a box you have saved just for this moment.
"I have something to give each of you," you tell them.
From the box, you remove your car keys and give them to Joe.
"What's this?" he asks.
"It's yours. I'm giving it to you."
He narrows his eyes. "I don't get it."
"There's nothing to get. I'm giving you the car."
He drops the keys on the table and waits.
You take everything else out of the box....the deed to your house, transfer of your 401K, the contents of your safety deposit box, your mother's wedding ring--everything of value that you own--and give them to your friends.
They grumble and murmur. One by one, they get up from the table, sharing low glances at each other but never looking back at you. They take their coats and head for the door, but before going out, remember to take your gifts. They remember that.
Would you give away everything you value to faithless friends? Well, neither would I, but we are not the givers. We are one of the friends. This is exactly what Jesus did in the upper room the night before He died. That dinner, in the company with men He loved, was framed, both before and after, in betrayal. The same men with whom Christ feasted demonstrated little but faithlessness and still, in the midst of it, He washed their feet and gave them Himself. The Last Supper rose as an island of blessing in a sad, black place.
And what Jesus did for the disciples, He still does for us today, giving everything without reservation when we don't see, don't follow, don't understand. Even when we deliberately forsake Him, He extends His hand holding the most precious of gifts.
This is my body, which is given for you.--Luke 22:19