ALTARS – in the Old Testament, people of God built altars: to celebrate a victory, to mark the place of decision, to give God glory and request His help . . .
These altars were a visible reminder of something important. So it is with the following:
An ALTAR in my mind . .
Our home is easily reached by hungry students from the YWAM base close by and several pastors who love to stop by at mealtime. We have a big round table with a white Formica top sitting under an overhanging roof outside our kitchen door. The floor of the large area is of stones set into cement with a few jabuticaba fruit trees. The area protected by the roof is large enough that we eat all of our meals outside, even when it’s raining.
Tonight it was dark by 6:30 as “unexpected guests” came knocking at our gate. It is now almost 7 pm. Supper is lasting longer than usual as our family and several friends linger around the big white table, visiting, laughing, drinking hot café com leite and munching on fresh crisp French rolls from the bakery down the road. To my dismay, as I look at the table and the people around it, I realize that I need more food.
Picking up the coffee carafe, I go into the kitchen to make fresh hot coffee, and to find more jam and fruit to go along with the fresh bread.
I grab the metal coffee pot I use for making coffee, put it over a high flame on the stove, and start looking for more food I can take outside. I begin to feel frantic. There is nothing.
I open the door of the almost empty frig. There is still some milk I can heat. The other thing staring me in the face is my favorite 2 pound white Minas cheese I bought that morning to be a special treat for my family’s breakfast tomorrow.
No fruit. Only the cheese.
I firmly close the door of the frig. That cheese is for my family.
The coffee is ready to pour into the carafe. More hot milk is ready in a small ceramic pitcher.
What am I going to do?
I open the frig one more time and look at that cheese.
I stand there, talking to God.
Ok, God. I will take the cheese out to share tonight. I will never hold back any food when there are people here who are hungry.
But You will have to make sure I have the food to serve.
I bend over, pick up that cheese, close the frig door, put the cheese on a plate and take it, the coffee and the hot milk outside to the table amid jokes about me saving the best until the last. Eager hands take the things from me, placing them in the middle of the table where everyone can reach them, making sure I am seated with more hot café com leite and a piece of cheese. I relax, sipping my coffee, allowing the conversation to flow around me as I talk once again with God. “Thank You, Father. I did the right thing, and I’m glad…”
Without realizing it, that evening I built an altar to honor God.
Soon, I will share with you the far-reaching effects of the decision I made as I looked at that delicious piece of cheese.