Dim Sum – Banquets

Once on an assignment to China, our team had a surprise invitation from one of our host affiliate’s staff. It was his wedding banquet and we were invited to his home which was two and a half hours’ car ride from the city. It was a working week day and we arrived at this very imposing  three storey home on a farm, not expecting to see so many people in the celebration. There were business friends of the bride and groom, relatives from afar and their large extended family comprising more than 100 people. When lunch was called, we were seated around 40 tables of 10 persons per table.  Lunch was from around noon to six in the evening for we had a 20 course lunch including roast suckling pig, a must- have at celebrations of such significance. Chinese wine was flowing with lots of “bottoms up” all round (signalling  a fresh round of glass refills with wine) and everybody was in a celebratory mood.

At the end of the lunch there was so much food left-  we had a surfeit of food.  In the Meriam Webster dictionary the definition of   surfeit is

1. an excessive or immoderate amount
2. overindulgence, esp in eating or drinking
3. disgust, nausea, etc., caused by such overindulgence

Do you know that Jesus warned us against surfeiting ? ”And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” – Luke 21:34 KJV

In this passage about surfeiting, Jesus warns us that our focus must be on the spiritual and not on the natural. If we find ourselves over indulging and living a life of excess, then when it’s time to meet our Maker we will surely not be prepared and that day will over take us unaware.

Music, dancing and merriment usually attended all such festivities. Certainly the ancient Hebrews, like other peoples of the ancient East, were very fond of social feasting, and in Christ’s day had acquired, from contact with Greeks and Romans, luxurious and bibulous habits, that often carried them to excess in their social feasts.

(1) In view of existing customs and abuses, Christ taught His followers when they gave a banquet to invite the poor, etc. (Luke 14:13), rather than, as the fashion of the day called for, to bid the rich and influential

(2) “Banquets” were usually given in the house of the host to specially invited guests (Luke 14:15; John 2:2), but much more freedom was accorded to the uninvited than  the Westerners  are accustomed to, as one finds to be true everywhere in the East until a few years ago. In traditional families, it used to be if parents were invited, it was as if the whole extended family were invited and so was one reason for the excess food provided.

(3) “Banquets” were considered normal parts of weddings as they are now throughout the East. Jesus and His disciples were bidden to one at Cana in Galilee, and he accepted the invitation (John 2:2), and wine-drinking was a part of the feast. The “banquet” Levi gave was in Christ’s honor (Luke 5:29). There were numbers present and marked gradations in the places at table (Matthew 23:6; Mark 12:39; Luke 14:7; 20:46). Guests were invited in advance, and then, as time-pieces were scarce, they specially notified when the feast was ready, which helps to explain Christ’s words (Matthew 22:4), “All things are ready: come to the marriage” (compare Luke 14:17; Esther 5:8; 6:14).

(4) Matthew tells us (Matthew 23:6) that the Pharisees “love the chief place at feasts.”

In a country with one of  highest rates in increase of millionaires (no I am not included here nor covetous to be included, for He has been true to His Word, in supplying all that I have needed)  in the last few years, one of the hobbies of the newly -rich Singaporeans,  is to chase every new dish, every new restaurant and relishing the new offerings of old foodie establishments. We are in the race to be a major  international centre for  culinary excellence. What’s next?   Being a small nation with limited space, the occupation with “good, expensive” food is  one of a few indulgences available. I fear we may be surfeiting and falling into the trap which Jesus warned us to avoid. I pray we will be wise to practice restraint not only for our physical good but also for our spiritual good, that we will be ready for the soon return of our Lord.

On second thoughts, it is not only excess with food that could stumble us in our efforts to be ready for  the Lord’s return.  Any excessive  interest in the cares of this life, in  anyone,  activity,  indulgence and subject could be a stumblingblock. So beware and take stock – do you have an “idol” which will stop you from being ready for the Lord’s return?

It may be morn, it may be night or noon. We know He’s coming soon.

About ptl2010

Jesus Christ is coming soon
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8 Responses to Dim Sum – Banquets

  1. Pingback: Dim Sum – Banquets « Inspirational Christian Blogs

  2. writinggomer says:

    Seeking out “more”, and “more” never being enough was at one time an occasional finding in this world so to speak. Now, it is almost a tradition if you will. The mantra of this world seems to moving rapidly to excessive self indulgence and an attitude of “I deserve it”. Far cry from what Jesus has tried to teach all of us who are residents of this world. Even many who claim heaven as their eternal abode are guilty of this one, and it is all to easy (I think) for any of us to succumb to this temptation at times.

    As Pastor Rob said, this is a much needed posting.

    • ptl2010 says:

      Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity Ecclesiastes 1;2

      All – All worldly things. Is vanity – Not in themselves for they are God’s creatures and therefore good in their kinds, but in reference to that happiness, which men seek and expect to find in them. So they are unquestionably vain, because they are not what they seem to be, and perform not what they promise, but instead of that are the occasions of innumerable cares, and fears, and sorrows, and mischiefs. Nay, they are not only vanity but vanity of vanities, the vainest vanity, vanity in the highest degree. And this is redoubled, because the thing is certain, beyond all possibility of dispute.
      – Wesley’s Notes

  3. The details may differ, but I’m sure most countries – especially the more affluent ones – are in the same position as you describe there: seeking after ‘more’ and ‘more’. Because idols never satisfy, they seek new and different idols. May we who know the living God stand against all that would seek to destroy the Christian values and standards and stand for the Truth. May our lives witness to that Truth.

  4. Rob Barkman says:

    AMEN, today’s society is filled with idols that stand in opposition to the Lord’s will and ways for our lives. Might we all discern what stands in the way of our service and reject anything that may stand in the way of His service. Thank you for the posting. It is much needed by all of us.

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