A woman wanders through the market place, dodging barefoot children, as she buys her fresh vegetables for the day. Waiting back at home are two empty jugs, waiting to be carried down to the well to fill, so she can start her bread baking & household tasks for the day. Suddenly the excitement level of the marketplace rises, “JESUS!” she hears them call. “Jesus is here!”
She had heard so much about this Jesus, this Savior who could heal the blind and lame. She pushed closer and closer, hoping to get a glimpse of him. The crowds parted and there, there he was! So kind, with eyes so gentle, as he bent down to greet a child. If only she could get closer to him! As she moved through the crowds, he turned and his eyes met hers, the world seemed to stop for an instant. He moved through the crowd towards her, “I knew I’d find you here today. I am coming to your house for supper,” he softly spoke, smiling as he turned back to the masses around him.
WHAT?! JESUS was coming to HER home…..TONIGHT?!?!?!?!
Instantly her mind was reeling, There was so much to do, so much that needed to be prepared to host the KING OF KINGS! Laundry, dishes, cleaning, baking, a feast must be served to Jesus. Jesus at her HOME?!
She rushed home and began her task of drawing water from the well down the path. The jugs were heavy and sweat trickled down her face as she hauled them on her shoulders back to her home, up the rocky path. She had just about finished her trek to bring up the second large jar of water, and was almost to her front door, when a man stopped her. He was filthy and seemed weary, “Please Miss, may I have the water you have drawn to clean myself? I am so hot and dirty from my long journey.”
Seriously? Didn’t this man know how much work it was to go draw water? Didn’t this man know, that she had to get ready for JESUS?!
“No!” she said briskly, “I have no extra water available.”
And she hurried off, up the path to her home, where she needed to make her bread and set it in the sun to rise. Meanwhile, she’d use the water to scrub her home from top to bottom. Jesus was coming! Everything had to be PERFECT!
She saw a hunched over old woman, hobbling up the path ahead of her. She seemed to be struggling to find her way back home. Well, someone else would just have to help her, there was NO time to spare! She brushed right past her, ignoring the shaky voice that asked, “Miss? Can you please help me find my way?”
Hours later, she sat back on her knees and surveyed the scene around her. Her home sparkled from top to bottom! Time to bake the bread and then start to prepare supper. Hopefully she’d have time to draw a bath for herself before Jesus came!
The smell of her bread baking began tickling her nose as she carefully set the table with her finest linens. She was imaging the things she and Jesus would talk of when there was a knock on the door.
A small boy with hungry eyes greeted her, “Please Miss, might I have some of your delicious smelling bread? I am so very hungry.”
“No!” she snapped, “I have no extra, I am having a VERY important guest for dinner.” And with that she slammed the door.
Didn’t people know how busy she was?
Moments later, as she brushed out her long hair and washed her face, she heard a crying baby and a frantic knock on the door. A flustered mother with a baby on her hip stood on her step, “Please Miss, may I borrow a few cups of milk? My baby is hungry and I have none.”
“I don’t have time to go milk the cow! Be off with you, go beg at someone else’s door step! I am VERY busy!!!” She shut the door firmly in the face of the young mother and turned to her task again.
With quick hands, she prepared a lovely meal, fit for a king, complete with warm, fresh bread and a clean house. She smoothed her hair back from her face, as she surveyed the scene around her. Despite all her interruptions, she had completed all her tasks, Jesus should be arriving any moment! Oh she could hardly stand the anticipation.
An hour passed, Jesus must have gotten hung up on the way to her home. Another half hour passed, and she walked out front to look up and down the path to make sure he wasn’t lost. There was no one in sight. She headed back inside to recheck the food and light the lanterns. She would be sure Jesus could see her house. Another half hour passed, no Jesus. She was so very tired from her day of hard work, perhaps she’d just rest her eyes for a moment.
The next morning, she wakes up in her chair, to burned out candles, cold food and an empty heart. Why hadn’t Jesus come like he said? Angry, she set out for the market place to find him. With purposeful strides she stomped into the area of peddlers selling their wares, and in one sweeping glance, she spotted him, stooped down to speak to a child.
“Jesus!” she said. “You were to come to dinner last night! I was ready for you, I prepared a FEAST, fit for a king! Why didn’t you come?”
“Oh, my child,” he said tenderly, “I did come and you turned me away.”
Her mouth drops open…..but no words come, so Jesus continues:
“First, I was a weary traveler, seeking refreshment, but you gave me none.
Then, I was an old woman, needing your guiding hand, but you brushed me aside.”
A single tear forms in her eyes and slips silently down her cheek.
“Next, I was a hungry boy, but you had no bread for me.”
Her head drops in shame, tears hit the sand at her feet. Jesus continues,
“……And lastly, I was a frantic mother with a crying baby, but you offered me nothing. You shut your door in my face, you had no room for me in your home and busy schedule.”
He placed his arm around her shaking shoulders and softly spoke in her ear,
“Remember, my beloved, for as much as you do for the least of these, you do for me…….I love you.”
And with that he left, continuing on his journey to the next village. But he never left her heart, for she would never forget that moment, that day Jehovah came to her door many, many times, yet she turned him away.
How many times have we missed Jehovah? In our rush to get to our next appointment, our next errand, or home to make dinner, we’ve missed Him.
That woman who dropped her groceries, as her bag ripped right in front of you, could she be Jehovah? Yet you side-stepped her as you continued to walk to your car, not missing a beat in your phone conversation.
How about that time you were prompted to give a homeless man rummaging in the garbage some money, but you talked yourself out of it. After all, they only use it for drugs, right?!
What about that check out person at Wal-mart, who was too greasy or pierced for your taste, so you rushed through their line with nary a smile or good morning, tapping your nails impatiently as they fumbled for your change???
Don’t miss Him. You only rob yourself of blessings here and in the here after. Our job is to BE Jesus to those around us. Everything we say and do should be filtered THROUGH Him and be a reflection OF Him.
II Corinthians 9:10 “For God is the one who gives seed to the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will give you many opportunities to do good, and he will produce a great harvest of generosity in you.”
Keep your eyes open, your heart soft, be aware of those around you, for you never know when you might be asked to Entertain Jehovah……
The Jesus For Dinner story was told to me when I was a little girl by my mother at bedtime. Over the years I have forgotten all the details, so I made up my own today, but the concept behind it is the same. I hope it touched your heart as it did mine, even as a child.
Looking for your own ways to “Give Generously” while out and about in the world?
Then check out my friend, Tabitha’s site. They put together Homeless Blessing Bags and keep them in their van to give out as they see someone in need. What a great example she is showing her children to show kindness and love to those around them, no matter what their walk in life.