“In part I looked toward the setting sun because terror may ride with beauty, and a man needs to milk his hours of the precious things. To ride fast, to travel far, these were empty things unless a man took the time to savor, to taste, to love, to simply be.”
--Louis L'Amour (The Proving Trail)
"He has made everything beautiful in its time.... And also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor--it is the gift of God."
--Ecclesiastes 3:11,13 (NKJV)
Once, way back when I was in the Air Force, Annie and I attended the NCO Banquet at the Air Force Academy. We were all dressed up and our unit had a back table, with several empty tables behind us. It might not have been the best etiquette nor up to Emily Post's standards, but we procured all of the appetizers, shrimp cocktail, from the tables. It would have just gone to waste if we hadn't rescued it. I can't remember anything else on the dinner, but I do remember the appetizer--the shrimp cocktail.
It was something simple, but enjoyable. I think the Lord has little treats for us as we travel through life, but we often don't stop to enjoy them. I think that this life is appetizer time for the great banquet that awaits us in heaven. That's sure going to be a grand time, and I believe we'll enjoy every second of it in eternity and we will remember the main menu, but what about this life?
Once, Annie and I hiked up to Blue Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. We went halfway around the lake and she sat high on some rocks overlooking the lake while I continued around and up the trail to Upper Blue. She sat and enjoyed the wonderful creation of God and had a fox for a visitor. That my friend, was an appetizer.
I am going to borrow some from John Piper's morning devotion, "Go on to the Meal."
"Have you ever looked up? Have you ever been hugged? Have you ever sat in front of a warm fire? Have you ever walked in the woods, sat by a lake, lain in a summer hammock? Have you ever drunk your favorite drink on a hot day or eaten anything good?
"You say you haven't tasted God's glory. I say, you have tasted the appetizers. Go on to the meal.
"You have seen the shadows; look at the substance. You have walked in the warm rays of the day; turn and look at the sun itself. You have heard echoes of God's glory everywhere; tune your heart to the original music."
In his devotion he continues on saying that we can taste the meal. Perhaps we can, since Jesus said He came to give us abundant life. But, I sort of linger to the thought that the meal will not be spread in its completeness until we partake of it with the Lord Himself in that heavenly land.
However, in saying that--taste the appetizers. David wrote,
"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!"
--Psalm 34:8 (NKJV)
Don't worry about spoiling your appetite, go ahead an taste. Look at the sunrise, see its radiance and the promise of a new day. Listen to the rain, hear the thunder roll, gaze at the sky when the lightning flashed. Watch the deer move through the trees with a newborn fawn. Listen to the babbling brook or the rush of water cascading over the rocks. Look up, see the eagle soar, or the hawk dive. Hold yourself steady and look out over a grand vista of God's Cathedral. Notice the wonderful aromas that come from the kitchen--those of hot coffee, the baking of bread, or frying of bacon. Taste those wonderful flavors as you bite into freshly made apple pie.
We might get an appetizer once in a while when we go out. I'm partial to stuffed jalapenos, or fried green tomatoes; and really what are they, but a bite of the Lord's appetizer that He offers to us. Look for the things in life that bring a thrill to the senses and see if they are not from God.