For many of us, the social isolation of these unusual times has served as something of a wakeup call. Some of us have found extra time to do things we’ve since decided should really have been a priority all along. Somehow, we just became too busy! I wonder, how will our priorities look when things start to become more ‘normal’?
Jesus told a story that challenges our priorities:
“A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ Luke 14:16, 17
In those times and culture two-fold invitations were common. There was an early invitation in principle to an event, followed by a second when preparations were completed and the event was about to start. It seems there was an initial, positive response to the great banquet this man planned, but something very different when it came time to attend. Those invited all had their excuses: “I’ve just bought a field.” “I’ve just bought some new oxen.” And perhaps the most creative of them all: “I just got married!”
Do we sometimes hide behind busyness as an excuse to avoid a commitment we really don’t want to make?
The man was unimpressed but determined that his banquet would still go ahead.
(He) became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ (Luke 14:21) and when there were still empty places at his table, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’” (Luke 14: 23-24) (Just for fun: I Cannot Come LEGO – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eM2yO22rSE4)
The implications are clear and challenging:
- God’s kind and generous invitation demands a response from us.
- There are no second chances. If we refuse the invitation, our places will go to others.
- Whosoever will come.
Jesus told this story in “the house of a prominent Pharisee” where he had been invited to share a meal (Luke 14:1; why not read the whole chapter, it’s very interesting!). “Being religious” is no substitute for gratefully accepting the invitation to join our Saviour’s great banquet. We should make attendance at his banquet a priority. We’ve also been entrusted with the servant’s role to see that every place at the table is filled. Let’s look for opportunities to pass on the invitation.
PRAYER: Thank you, Father, for your kind invitation to our Saviour’s banquet. It’s my privilege to accept. Forgive me my preoccupation with lesser things that has sometimes been a distraction. Lead me to those I could invite to join me at your table. Amen
SONG: Come to the Banquet by Fay White https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czRLWLOoqj8