Building a longer table

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When our sons left home and headed off to university, one of our fears was about their food choices. Would they go from Melinda’s magnificently wholesome, plant-based creations to a diet of fast food and fizzy drinks?

Yes, they did have their occasional forays into the world of empty calories and greasy garbage, but overall, they’ve done well, and are both pretty handy in the kitchen too. One thing I didn’t expect though, was that they would introduce me to new foods.

One day the voice on the phone said, “Dad, you’ve got to try Rana pasta. You’ll love it. It comes on special every couple of months.” So, as an obedient father, I went to town and found a few packets of this “amazing” fresh pasta. I was truly impressed by it. Sure, it’s not exactly a health food, but it’s a super-satisfying option when “warm and salty” is all that will hit the spot.

Flavours and calories aside, what I liked most about the Rana pasta wasn’t actually the pasta—as good as it is—and it wasn’t even their tagline of “Live Life Generously”—which would warm the heart of any stewardship director. It was actually a photo they have on the back of their pasta packets.

It’s an image that they describe as “the Rana family”. Everybody loves a banquet feast with friends, and the Rana family look like they do it in style. Scores of happy, healthy Italians enjoying a great meal in the outdoors—magnifico!

It reminds me of the saying, “When you realise that you’re blessed, build a longer table, not a taller fence.” We are all invited to share our blessings and to watch how God can use them for His purposes. In recent years, eating together in large groups at church lunches and community outreach events has been very challenging, and yet, God is still blessing His work immensely.

In 2020, across the South Pacific Division, more than 57,000 precious people decided to join us at the “banquet table” of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. With more than 210,000 new members joining us in the past five years, kingdom growth through baptisms and professions of faith has never been higher.

I don’t feel like I’m in any position to offer “the thanks of the church” to you, but I am just so grateful for everything that faithful members across Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and all the many South Pacific nations are doing to support God’s work through His church.

Thank you for your faithfulness in giving your time, talents, finances and so much more to invite, welcome and feed such a precious multitude of new believers at God’s banquet table.

Thank you for recognising God’s blessings in your life, by systematically returning a faithful portion of all your income to “the storehouse” through your local church (Malachi 3:10-12).

Thank you for creating an environment where your tithes and offerings are being used in frontline mission to win souls for the kingdom: more souls than ever before! 

The great marriage supper of the Lamb is coming soon, and there will be guests from every nation, kindred, tongue and people. Jesus will be the Host, the Master of Ceremonies, our Saviour. What a day of rejoicing that will be!

Julian Archer is South Pacific Division stewardship director.

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