God Has Set A Banquet In Front of You: Stop Eating Cheese and Crackers
Jesus paid for your ticket. Get aboard the ship and enjoy the voyage
I was listening to a sermon the other day by Pastor Joel Osteen. He told a story about a poor man who lived in England and his dream was to one day leave his homeland and come to America and start over with hope and a better quality of life.
The man decided he would make his dream come true and he started to save money to buy a ticket so he could sail on a ship that would be bound for America.
He toiled daily, month after month, for a very long time, and finally, he had saved enough to buy his ticket to sail aboard a passenger ship to the destination he had dreamed of.
He also, in his mind, said to himself, “ I only have enough money for the ticket but no food”, so he put several boxes of crackers and plenty of cheese in his luggage to ensure he would have enough to eat and last during the trip.
One day he finally boarded the ship and it headed to America. During most of the trip when it was time for the passengers to eat, he saw them going into the dining room and he was present too, but would always go into a corner and start eating his cheese and crackers thinking he could not afford the dining expense.
This went on for most of the trip, day after day, until finally after most of the trip had been completed, a man who had noticed him always eating cheese and crackers in the corner asked him “Sir why do always go into a corner and eat cheese and crackers every time a meal is served in the dining room.”
The man replied, “Sir, I only had enough money to buy the ticket to America. I didn’t have enough money to buy food so I made sure I would not go hungry and just brought cheese and crackers to eat.”
The other passenger, said to him, “Sir, the ticket you purchased for the trip also included the meals. You’ve been missing out on all of the food, drinks, and other privileges that your ticket provides to you.”
The man had been eating cheese and crackers when all he had to do was join in the dining room and sit at the table with everyone else who had purchased a ticket and he would have been waited on and had access to the banquet and buffet of food, drinks, and other perks that the paid ticket included.
The Moral of the Story
When I heard this story it immediately struck me how Christians miss out on so much because they continue to eat the cheese and crackers of life when they are entitled to a fabulous scrumptious banquet that God has set before everyone that accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
When He shed his blood on the cross and died for the sins of mankind, he paid the price. He paid every Christian’s ticket for their voyage to Heaven.
The Ship of Zion
Continuing with the analogy of the man eating cheese and crackers during his voyage to America, there is an old Baptist hymn whose lyrics are appropriate.
The name of the hymn is “The Old Ship of Zion.” Zion has many meanings in today's lexicon but in this sense, it refers metaphorically to heaven, the heavenly city or kingdom of heaven, and the ultimate place where Christians, those who have accepted Christ as their savior, are headed.
It’s their ultimate destination the same as American was the ultimate destination for the man referenced in this article.
The song’s lyrics encourage people to get on board this ship because it is headed to heaven and picking up passengers. The passengers who want to travel to this ultimate and most desirable location must purchase a ticket.
The cost of the ticket is simply to confess the Lord Jesus as savior and then get on board because He has already paid the price of the ticket when He shed His blood and died on the cross for the sins of mankind.
That paid ticket means you are entitled to every feast that God has planned for you during your trip (living on earth) until you get to your final destination, which is heaven.
The Banquet God Sets Before Every Christian
While on the Ship of Zion, God has made sure that those who follow Him are adequately taken care of. They don’t go hungry and should never feel like they are less than anyone else. The Lord makes promises to those who get on board this ship and those promises are guaranteed. He cannot lie.
The scriptures tell us what’s served at the banquet. It’s a feast, which means just about anything you can think of that’s good to eat is made available to you.
King David, in penning Psalms 23:5(NLT) makes it clear what the banquet is and points out that even enemies cannot keep you from feasting.
“You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.”
Indeed Jesus also adds to what the voyager on the Ship of Zion can expect. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20 ESV
Stop Eating Cheese and Crackers
God has set it up that none of his followers should ever be eating only cheese and crackers on the journey of life. Just the opposite. They should be rejoicing and eating the buffets of banquets that are set before us on a daily basis.
We are sons and daughters of God and we are heirs and Jesus makes us entitled to the inheritance that He left when He ascended back to heaven. Romans 8:16–17 (NKJV)
Unfortunately, so many Christians fall overboard during the voyage to heaven and sometimes get overwhelmed and lost at sea. However, this does not mean they are lost and cannot be rescued. God has a lifeline and He is ready to throw it out to anyone who has fallen overboard and cries out for rescue.
In his Word, He gives two examples, among many, of how to get back on board the Ship of Zion.
One is the story of the prodigal son who demanded his inheritance from his father. His father reluctantly gave it to him and the son went on a voyage of travel and frivolity. He spent all of his money on the so-called good life and ultimately he became so poor and hungry that he went to eat with hogs.
He then came to his senses and remembered his father. With great humility, he went back home determined to accept even the lowest position his father might offer him, even as a servant. He knew that at least he would be taken care of.
His father saw him coming from afar and welcomed him back with open arms and prepared a feast for him and restored him.
He had fallen overboard but his father, like God, accepted him back when he asked for a lifeline. This is what God does for Christians when they stray but come to their senses and come back to the Lord.
The other example is outlined in 1 John 1:9; “For if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
When a Christian confesses his or her sins and asks God for forgiveness it is freely given and history is wiped out. It is no longer a means of judgment against that person.
God restores as if it never happened. He only wants the best for us. Eating cheese and crackers does not measure up to God’s standards for those who love and follow Him.
Christians have a special place in God’s heart and they are treated in a special way that is totally different than those who don’t profess faith in Him. Yes, he loves all mankind, but those who accept Christ are given privileges and access to his love and salvation, which include banquets, business success, fulfilled lives, and love for others.
All it takes is purchasing a ticket which is the acceptance of Jesus Christ as personal savior. Then, one can board the ship headed to Zion and feast on all the promises of God, who never lies.
Christens don’t just eat the cheese and crackers of life, they feast on the best God has to offer.