• Julie Osborne

The Great Banquet


The Great Banquet

I was hungry. Ironic, since I had just returned home after spending 72 hours at the Indianapolis Great Banquet, where the snacks and meals never ceased. But my nonstop consumption halted when I left the church, and now my stomach was growling. After being gone all weekend, I opened the empty fridge — nothing. Then I searched the freezer. A Lean Cuisine it would have to be. No other options remained. What a contrast this was from the weekend-long feast I had just enjoyed — not only literally but, more importantly, emotionally and spiritually.


As I nibbled on my gravy-laden roasted turkey chunks with crunchy green beans, I pondered on my weekend experience and realized how, in many ways, this Lean Cuisine was a fitting metaphor for many years of my existence. While an abundant feast awaited, I had been focused on things that were unsatisfying, just like the frozen dinner before me. But I had continued to trudge along, not thriving but merely existing.


I didn’t know this abundant life was available until I got a glimpse of it – much like the day I got my first pair of glasses. I remember the pinpoint clarity and the ability to see the detail on colorful fall leaves in distant trees. It was a vision I had never experienced before. Beauty was on display right before my eyes, but I couldn’t see it in its full glory until I put on those glasses. For years, I hadn’t known what I was missing.


And so it was as I attended the Indianapolis Great Banquet as eyes were opened and lives were transformed right before me. The focus of the Great Banquet is to know Jesus as Lord and Savior and to make Him known. Each of the 42 guests showed up expectantly with little knowledge of what would happen as the days unfolded. Exuberant laughter and engaging conversations took place in the hallways and makeshift bedrooms jammed with air mattresses. The 15 speakers prompted tears and inspiration as they laid out their souls, sharing stories of spousal betrayal, parental abandonment, death of loved ones, disease, homelessness, and horrific crimes against them. Each story moved those present, and all had a common theme: God was bigger than their struggles and right beside them every step of the way — through friends, church communities, and loved ones. As leaders and guests listened and learned, we too formed deeper bonds rooted in Christ as we poured out our hearts and shared our struggles.


Are you enjoying the abundant life God has prepared for you?


Once you receive a taste of God’s Great Banquet, there’s no going back to a Lean Cuisine life!


“… Come, for all is now ready.” (Luke 14:17)


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Meet Author Julie Osborne