“Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” Yet we make excuses, even with God’s invitation, don’t we? We turn invitations into self-centredness. I’ll get back to you. I’ll check the calendar. I’ll determine if you are worthy of my presence…
1 One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched.
15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”
16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’
18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’
19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’
20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house 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.’
22 “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’
23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”
Luke 14:1, 15-24
While at this dinner with the religious leader, Jesus was being watched for his behaviour. He told three parables of dinner parties, and in the third edition, after teaching us that we should be humble and be merciful, he teaches us today that we should also be grateful.
We are blessed to eat at the banquet. Blessed to be invited. Do we feel that way? It is an honour to receive an invitation, yet sometimes we take it for granted or place ourselves before our host. We make excuses why we cannot go or object to elements of the details.
What’s on the menu? Where is the party? Who else is invited? What date and what time? I’ll check my schedule and get back to you, which really means I will evaluate whether I like your answers to my questions and determine whether you and your party are worthy…
Notice how we turn the blessing of an invitation into self-centredness?
Not only do we do this with party invitations, Jesus’ real point is that we do this with the invitation of God. God sent his only son for us. To live and to die and to rise again for us. Because he loves us. Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God. Yet we make excuses and judge the Gracious Inviter.
Be grateful. Accept God’s offer. Stop focusing on yourself. Realize that God is gracious to you when you don’t even deserve his grace at all.
And remember that if we decide to make excuses and reject God’s invitation, there will be a day in which we are told the house is full. Today is the day to RSVP to Jesus with a yes. Be grateful.