Three years ago when I was starting out in a new job, God gave me a dream where there was a long banquet table stretching from the cul-de-sac outside my office building to the other end of the street. The table hosted a banquet, and Jesus was at the head of the table in the seat of honour. When pondering the meaning of this dream, I knew this held some symbolic significance to my workplace and how he was using me there, but it wasn’t until recently that God has revealed to me what this dream actually meant.
In the Parable of the Great Feast (Luke 14:15-24) Jesus tells a story of a man who prepared a great feast and sent his servant to deliver a message to the guests; that the banquet is ready and to come. The servant obediently went out to the guests to deliver the master’s message, however, the people had many excuses for why they couldn’t come to the banquet. On the servant’s return, the master instead told him to invite the poor, crippled, blind and lame, and then also extend the invite to basically anyone he could find, even those “in country lanes and behind the hedges” so that the house will be full.
This parable reveals that as obedient servants to our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, we are called to deliver this message to all people, in all seasons of life and invite them to share in the great banquet that Jesus has prepared for us. But practically and realistically, what does this call actually look like for us?
For me, I have been in my workplace for three and a half years now and during my time, I have been blessed with close friendships with many people I have worked with – many of which I believe will be friendships I keep for life. However, over the years I have gone from hiding my faith from my colleagues on many occasions, to eventually being open about my faith, my areas of ministry and even occasionally sharing my testimony. But in all this, I have quite often become frustrated. Am I actually making a difference? Am I being the Christian that I should be? Am I glorifying God even in the slightest in my workplace? Because if I am, why haven’t my friends at work given their lives to Christ? Sometimes I doubt if I am making an impact at all.
Yet as I reflect on the parable of the Great Feast, I notice that the servant (who represents us, as followers) steps out in childlike obedience to his master and simply invites people to come to the feast. That’s it. There is nothing complicated about it.
We see this also when Jesus called Phillip in John 1:43 – 51. Phillip believed immediately and his response was to go straight to his friend Nathaniel and tell him the good news. Although Philip was then faced with cynicism from Nathaniel as he questioned the idea of the Messiah coming from Nazareth, we soon read that Jesus meets Nathaniel and immediately gives him a word of knowledge about him sitting under a fig tree before Philip came to him. We see that Jesus met Nathaniel where he was at – he was cynical and to believe, he needed to be touched by Jesus through His prophetic word. Like Philip and the servant in the parable of the great feast, we simply need to declare the truths of the gospel, step into the opportunities God lays before us and trust God to do the rest. This takes the pressure off us. If we don’t have all the answers and we can’t convince people to have faith through many words, we can therefore cease striving and allow Holy Spirit to speak powerfully into people’s lives.
Although most of the time I cannot see the immediate impacts of the work God is doing through me, I am now beginning to see how He is positioning me in my workplace to love those around me and shine His light into their lives. Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to share my testimony with one of my friends at work, answer her questions about Christianity, tell her about my faith and even pray for her in various situations. I didn’t really go out of my way to do these things, God set up these moments and I just needed to be open and listen to the spirit’s promptings. More and more of these opportunities are opening up and I am finding myself in situations where I can speak God’s love into situations and into people’s lives. This isn’t something I have done on my own, but through the Holy Spirit living in me, and I am so overwhelmed with how God is using me little by little in my workplace.
I never thought that a dream I had one night three years ago would still be speaking to me in my walk today. However, I now know that Jesus has prepared the places at the table for the people in my life but I need not strive and worry about when and how I am bringing these people to the table. My role is to simply focus on Jesus, be in his presence, cease striving, act in child-like obedience and allow the Holy Spirit to move through me and make His love visible to those around me.
So for you, in your life and circumstances, who will you be inviting to the banquet?