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Complaining diners leave a bad taste

Philippa Smale takes a look at some of the Proverbs from the Bible

'Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife' (Proverbs 17:1 New International Version)

The people excluded the couple from their conversations

THEY didn’t look as though they belonged. He had obviously hired his dinner suit. She appeared to have bought her evening dress 20 years ago. The guests at the firm’s annual dinner would never have thought of themselves as snobs – but really, who on earth had invited this pair!

The people at their table greeted them politely but then excluded them from their conversations rather pointedly. The couple just smiled and got on with their meal, seemingly unaware that their perfectly good table manners were under scrutiny.

They listened rather sadly to the talk going on around them, which seemed to be full of complaints and criticisms. If all the people at their table were to be believed, working for the firm was awful, the bene-fits were dire and there was absolutely no future for the business.

It was a shock to practically everyone there when, after the meal, the managing director presented the misfit couple – along with three other couples – with cheques for various charities which they represented. The applause sounded sheepish and even a little apologetic.

The couple were glad to get home. It was nice to visit that world for a while – to put on glad rags and have an elegant meal – but it wasn’t where they belonged. They had a cup of tea and began to think about how best to spend the money they had received for their work with homeless people.

In the last book of the Bible, Jesus says: ‘Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that per­son, and they with me’ (Revelation 3:20).

The invitation isn’t to a posh meal with lots of other people where there is a dress code to be followed and the correct fork must be used. The invitation is simply to get to know Jesus as a friend and saviour and to belong to his family. And we are all invited.

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