“And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing” – Nehemiah 8:12
We don’t have too many details about this party that was thrown in Nehemiah 8. We know that they were told to prepare food and drink in excess, so that they would have enough to give away to anyone who had need. Ezra and Nehemiah basically tell the people, “Spare no expense!” Make this a party to remember. It was as if they wanted the abundance of good food and good wine to be a representation of the abundance of God’s grace to them. And so, this was quite literally a party of Biblical proportions. It was such an amazing party that it made it into the pages of Scripture.
It makes me think that there is a time to splurge. There is a time to provide more than is needed. Of course, there is a time to give away more than you can afford, when the Lord leads. There is a time to sacrifice more than you can bear, when the Holy Spirit puts it on your heart. But what I want to suggest today is that there is also a time to try to be an example of God’s abundance in someone’s life.
Did you read Jonathan’s devotional from yesterday? If not, you should stop right now and read it.
Ok. Now that you’re back, did you love the story of abundance? I love the fact that Jonathan’s parents bought the most choice steak to be prepared by their grandson. I don’t know about you, but if I were to pay that much for a steak, I wouldn’t let anyone touch it. However, the beauty of that story is that it is a story of an abundant gift, way more than what is deserved. And because of that, I’d bet that Ben won’t easily forget that story! He may forget the taste of the steak, but he’ll never forget the abundant gift.
This reminds me of a story in the Bible that I have often been curious about. It is the one about the woman who poured very expensive perfume on Jesus’ head in Matthew 26. If you remember, the disciples got mad and said, “Why this waste?” They were saying, “why this excess? This is too much!” However, Jesus’ response is telling. He says She has done a beautiful thing to me…Truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her. I have often wondered why Jesus said that until I understood it alongside Nehemiah’s party. Sometimes, it is just good to make a memory. So, next time you have the occasion, don’t just throw a party, make a memory! A memory of abundant love. And in so doing, you might just be a representation of God’s love to those around you.
Pastor Josh Rose