Was that a good meal or what?
SEPTEMBER 1, 2022
Was that a good meal or what? Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
God’s grace changes everything, how we love, work, live, lead, marry, parent, evangelize, purchase, and worship. This is Key Life, with practical Bible teaching to get you home with radical freedom, infectious joy, and surprising faithfulness.
If you’ve been with us this week, it’s been a little bit different. We’ve used the Scripture as the basis of what we’ve said, but we’ve used a wonderful story as an illustration to teach profound and deep truths. Kind of end up the, kind of bring this thing together and then we’ll talk about it.
Matt Heard: So, we’re in this little village of the north of Norway and this small little gray, really oppressed in a lot of ways, religious sect in this short story by Isak Dinesen called Babette’s Feast. They’re existing, they have a visitor come, her name’s Babette. They don’t know who she is, but they’ve been asked to take care of her and she wins a lottery and asks if she can fix a birthday dinner that they’re celebrating, the Dean, as they called him who a hundred years before had been born and has since died. So, they’ve just been invited to, a dozen of them and have enjoyed a meal, that unlike anything that they had ever had, the wines, the food, the décor, and one thing that Dinesen says during the meal is, these folks started to warm up. You know, you had people that hadn’t spoken to each other for years, they started talking, there were people that had grudges and they weren’t forgiving. And at the end of the meal, after the general gave his speech that I mentioned yesterday, that talked about this meal is about grace. This meal is an illustration of divine grace, where God lavishes us. He doesn’t take into consideration who we are, he’s doing something for us that we don’t deserve. It’s amazing that the one unreligious guy, got it. And all of the religious community, they were slow on the uptake, but it says they walked out into the night and those, this stoic group of religious people joined hands in a circle and danced, under the moonlight and underneath the falling snow. And so the older sisters, Martine and Filippa, they come back in, and they go back to the kitchen because they haven’t seen Babette all evening. She’s had this other little servant guy that’s been bringing the food out. And so, they come back and they find her on the chopping block, sitting on the chopping block. Just think about that from a sacrificial love standpoint. And you know, there’s a, she’s the Christ figure in this play. And they start, they tell her, we want to thank you. Nobody else had mentioned anything to her about the food because they had said, we’re not gonna talk about the food, but they said, thank you. And she’s exhausted. She is spent. And she says, basically, you’re welcome. And, they said, well, we guess that you’ll be going back to France now. And she says, oh no. And they said, well, why not? She said, well, I have no money. And they said, what do you mean you have no money? And she said, I’ve spent it all on this meal. They said, 10,000 Francs that you won in the lottery, you spent it all on a meal. And she says, I was the chef at the Cafe Oncle.
Matt Heard: And that is what a meal for 12 people would cost at the Cafe Oncle in Paris.
Matt Heard: So, they tell her, then you are poor then, we’re so sorry. And she says, no, a great artist is never poor. And so, the reason that story has impacted me so much, over the years, is it’s, you talk about a depiction of grace and who Jesus is in the midst of it. I mean, going back to that text that we started the week with in Ephesians 1, there are kind of three aspects that this group and the sisters in particular didn’t get about her. They didn’t understand who she was. So, do we understand the giver of grace could be a question. They didn’t understand how expensive this was. So, do I, in my walk with God, do I understand not just who he is, but how much grace cost? But the third in verse, as you go through Ephesians chapter one, verse six, seven, and eight, do I understand the extravagance of grace? What Paul says unequivocally, he says.
Do we really grasp, that to the praise of God’s glorious grace, which he’s freely given us in the one he loves. He’s the one in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins and accordance with the riches of his grace.
There is the cost, but then he says.
that he lavished on us.
That Greek word is perisseuo, super abundance, exceeding, over the top, overflowing. And do we really get the depth of what God has done for us. I mean, you go back through that story and I don’t know, Steve is, as you’ve heard it again, and as we’ve been talking about it, that whole little statement Babette can cook, that was right in the introduction. The understatement of that is hilarious. And so often we don’t understand, the Scriptures say, Hey, by the way, Jesus can restore, do we really, you know, there’s restore, there’s restored, there’s cooking and then there’s cooking. But she was with them for 12 years and they did not know that they had the world famous chef of the Cafe Oncle in their midst. And they were prescribing to her to cook split cod and bread and ale soup. And how long have I known Jesus and I’ve prescribed for him and kind of kept him in a box and saying, do this and this and this. Am I boxing him in?
So, we don’t know the giver either.
Matt Heard: Yeah. Yeah. I mean it, so often we, how long have I been walking with Jesus? Is my knowledge of him, you know, eternity, the essence of eternal life. Jesus said that they may know you. Do we really know him? Or have we just gone through the motions of knowing about him and looking at that whole notion of cost? You know, in him, we have redemption through his blood there in verse seven, Ephesians one. And the forgiveness of sins and accordance with the riches of God’s grace, you know, what did Peter say? You know, that it was not with perishable things like silver, gold you were redeemed. Well, they didn’t recognize the expense. They couldn’t grasp 10,000 Francs, that you, really a meal would cost that much. And she gives absolutely everything she has, as has Jesus. She’s sitting on the chopping block. He gave himself. She left Paris and this wonderful restaurant and she emptied herself. And she came to this village just as God, the Son emptied himself, humbled himself and came to us and said, I’m here for you. And I’m going to give you not what you deserve, but what you need, which is what she did. And she didn’t just dole it out. So, here’s a question that we can kind of spend the rest of our time on, why do we struggle so much with grace being lavish? We feel like God doles it out and just wants to eek it out, instead of realizing that this grace, that he has lavished on us. And that word comes up over and over. Our view of the gospel, why is it that we exclude extravagance from our view of the gospel?
Cause there’s something not religious or spiritual enough about that. You know, if you understand what he’s done for you, then what are you going to do for him? And, we get into that spiral of doubt. I was one time speaking at a large conference and decided I was, I was working on the book Three Free Sins. And I decided I was, and this was a conference of leaders and I decided I was going to dump the whole load and I wouldn’t be invited back, but I was going to say it cause they needed to hear it. The first night, they weren’t sure I was saved. The second night, they were beginning to get it. The third night, we were dancing. When I left, I’ve never been affirmed that much. That’s what the gospel does. And that’s what happens in this story. It is so, the transformation that takes place, when all of a sudden you understand the cost and the lavishness of it, for you.
Matt Heard: Yeah. I mean, we’ve got this scarcity mentality.
We really do.
Matt Heard: And it’s, it is directed towards God. And then we model it toward, you know, love people, love people, hurt people, hurt people. Well, people that feel like they’ve been dealt with in a scarce way by God in doling it out, that’s why we dole it out to others. If we understand the abundance and the lavishness and the excessiveness that God has poured on us. We’re going to give it away.
That’s a game changer. And that’s what the Christian faith is about, isn’t it? Somehow we are like that village, and I’m not throwing rocks at all. I mean, I’m as involved in this, you know, as anybody I know. And you too. I sometimes think it can’t be this good. I’m lying to these people. I’ve got to, I’ve got to, I’ve got to be a little bit more right on and spiritual. I mean, I’m compromising. No, I’m not. When, I’m simply talking about a dinner, that’s lavish, by a God, to people that don’t deserve even McDonald’s.
Matt Heard: Yes. You know, Nancy Spiegelberg this woman I looked up, I wanted to quote her in my book and I found her. She died, not long later. I talked to her when she was in a facility up in Indiana. And she wrote this poem long ago.
Lord, I crawled across the barrenness to You with my empty cup, uncertain in asking any small drop of refreshment. If only I had known You better, I’d have come running with a bucket.
Oh my. Matt, this had been a great, I wish people could see the sermon that you preached on this with the graphics you used. Or get your book, life with a capital L and read the chapter on this. It’ll change your life. You think about that. Amen.
Wow. Thank you Steve and Matt. Such a beautiful illustration of the lavishness of God’s grace. If you missed any episodes, remember that you could stream those anytime you want at Keylife.org. Our friend Pete Alwinson will be back with us tomorrow for Friday Q&A. And tomorrow. Steve and Pete will answer a question about what the Bible says about drinking. Should be a good one. Don’t miss it. So, religion, can make us weird, duh. And when we don’t live in the grace we have, it can make it challenging for unbelievers to see Jesus. Well, Steve spoke about this and a sermon called Grace in Freedom, based on Matthew 12:1-14. It’s such a powerful message that we put it on a CD that we would love to send to you for free. Get your copy right now by calling us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
Key Life Network
P.O. Box 5000
Maitland, Florida 32794
If you’re in Canada, send your request to
Key Life Canada
P.O. Box 28060
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6J8
Just ask for your free copy of the CD called Grace in Freedom. Finally, would you partner in the work of Key Life through your giving? You can charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or pick up your phone to give safely and securely by text. Just text Key Life to 28950. That’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter. Text that to 28950. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.