Thursday, May 28, 2015

No More Excuses

His master exploded.

"What is this! They won't come to my feast? These excuses can't wait until after the feast they all knew good and well that I've been preparing? Why haven't they been preparing? This is ridiculous!"

He remained silent. His master would know what to do.

His master paced back and forth in the grand hall, all prepared for the grand festivities. He could smell the meat cooking and fresh loaves of bread rising. Already the table was covered with fine tableware. The only thing missing were the people.

"What lousy excuses they hare! 'I have to tend my oxen.' 'I have to examine my new field.' 'I've just gotten married.'" His master stopped abruptly, an idea gleaming in his eyes. "Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city. Bring in the poor and crippled. The blind and lame. Bring them to my feast."

He hurried to do what his master had bid, but he was quite surprised when he returned later. It was plain to see that the multitude of people they had invited instead still wasn't enough. There was still room! He said so to his master.

"Go out to the highways and hedges, and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet."

He hurried to do his master's bidding once again. Indeed, they would fill the house.

Based on Luke 14:16-24

"He said also to the man who had invited him, 'When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.'” Luke 14:12-14

Have you ever looked at these verses and scratched your head? I mean, if I'm having a party, why wouldn't I invite my friends and family? Like most of you, I don't have an overflow of cash, so why would I waste it on people who wouldn't appreciate it? I'd get nothing in return. But that's where I'm wrong. They would appreciate it. They would be moved. If they thanked me, it would bring tears to my eyes. God has done this exact same thing for us. He has invited us into His home.

Jesus told a parable about a man who did invite all his important friends to the banquet, but those so-called friends made excuses not to come. "I have to go look at my new field." Uh, won't it still be there tomorrow? "I have examine my new oxen." Put them in a barn, and they will still be there tomorrow. "I just got married." Bring your wife! Goodness! Like these people, we tend to get a little distracted with everyday life, but the poor, needy, crippled, and blind don't. They understand that you've gone to trouble to do this for them. They understand their need.

Why would Jesus tell people to throw a party for the poor right before a parable about a man who had to invite the poor when the original guest snubbed him? So that we would understand our need. We are the poor, needy, the ones crippled by sin. Why are we giving excuses? Why do we pick and choose how much of God we want? Either we come to the banquet, or we won't taste of the Lord's goodness.

How is it possible that we are both of these people? It's not. We can't be the ones invited into God's grace, yet at the same time snubbing Him for "more important things." So who are you? Are you going to the banquet? Or are you ignoring what He's done for you and making excusing, trying to bide your time? Or were you a latter who is reformed into the former?

One thing is for sure. It's time we all say, "Yes, Lord. I'm coming. No more excuses."

V. Joy Palmer

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