The Gospel Banquet

My kids like to play outside when the weather’s good. In the late spring and summer, when daylight lasts for multiple hours after dinnertime, they want to rush from the table to the backyard. My wife and I have to remind them that if they do so, their littlest sister, who eats more slowly and is somewhat picky, will abandon her food to go play. She’ll do so not having eaten very much.

So it was with much basis in personal experience that I wrote the Parable of the Uneaten Food. For families at least in more affluent parts of the world, where people can eat their fill and have leftovers, this may be a common occurrence. For people without much means, the idea that any food goes uneaten may be a shock.

I wrote this parable because I think Heavenly Father must feel in some way like Luisa when we only sample and sip from the gospel banquet He has provided. He has provided so much through the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ in our times. It’s easy to take it for granted and pick at the feast He offers through His Son, Jesus Christ. It’s easy to let our appetites for spiritual nourishment be satisfied by tidbits and morsels, and after we consume them hurry away to things we find more pressing or more enjoyable.

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled,” taught the Savior to the Jews (Matthew 5:6). To the Nephites, He clarified, “they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost” (3 Nephi 12:6).

The progenitor of the Nephites, the prophet Nephi, wrote near the end of his record, “Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:3).

If you were to ask me when the last time was that I filled my life so full with activities that invite the influence of the Holy Ghost that I felt filled, I may not be able to give a good answer. I am trying to spend time in the scriptures, in the temple, reading recent teachings of Church leaders, and so on, but do I get the enjoyment and fulfillment out of it that the Lord wants me to? Or in the midst of doing those things, am I looking ahead to what I’m going to do afterward? Am I merely doing the time and checking a box so I can say I’m on the right path?

If I’m asking, then the answer is probably obvious!

Just as Luisa concluded not to strong-arm her children, Heavenly Father won’t force us. He provides the gospel banquet every day and invites us to eat our fill. He hopes we’ll come to appreciate the rich abundance of truth He has made available. And if I’m not there yet, then rather than binge in a burst of effort, I probably ought to resolve at least to sit at the table a little longer and savor the Word, the Bread of Life a little more.

Photo by cottonbro studio on

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