Handing Out Invitations
Scripture Reading — Luke 14:15-24
15When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, "Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God." 16Jesus replied: "A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17At 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 make them come in, so that my house will be full. 24I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.' " —
"Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town ..." Luke 14:21
On a recent airplane trip, I was called to the check-in counter at the gate and asked if I would be willing to exchange my seat in the back of the airplane for a seat up front in business class. It's a different world up front behind the curtains!
Jesus tells a story about a banquet feast to which all kinds of people are invited. God wants all the chairs at the banquet to be filled. All nationalities, all tribes and nations are invited. The banquet is a symbol of God's kingdom. Jesus' coming signaled the start of the banquet. But many religious people in those days got their noses out of joint because strangers were starting to fill the chairs. In fact, the religious elite started to boycott the banquet, sending in lame excuses. They thought God couldn't have a party without them. They thought God would call off the banquet. But the Lord didn't do that, and he sent out invitations to others.
God invites people whose lives have been messed up by poor choices, by circumstances they had little to do with, and by brokenness and pain.
Many are not part of the banquet because they've never received an invitation. Make it a point to invite people you know. Invite them to a worship service or a small group, or simply have someone over for a cup of coffee. It may be the appetizer for the banquet.
Lord, you generously want all people to find a seat at your banquet feast. Use us to invite others to enjoy your gifts of love, forgiveness, and hope in Jesus. Amen.