Ever try to do something really nice and extra special for someone and they act like they’re too busy – they give you all kinds of flimsy excuses – they act like they really “couldn’t care less”? It’s frustrating!! It’s insulting and rude!! It can “tick you off”!!
There’s a story like that in the Bible. Jesus had been invited to eat at the house of an important religious leader. During the meal, someone at the meal remarked, “Blessed (enviably privileged) is the person who will eat at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven!”
Now to process this story, you really have to understand all that the word “banquet” or “feast” represented in ancient Semitic culture – it was a very special, celebratory event! And you also must have some understanding of Jesus’ use of the term “the Kingdom of God or Heaven” from a Biblical point of view.
Just let me say, we’re not talking about “meat and ‘tators” here – not even “prime rib and key lime pie”! (“The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit according to Romans 14.17-18 ESV) We’re talking here about an incredible spiritual reality! One that will have its ultimate glorious consummation in the future, but also one that can be experienced and entered into “this side of heaven” when an individual accepts the invitation of Jesus Christ to “enter into it” – it’s both a present and a future reality!
So, here’s the story Jesus told that day in the Pharisee’s house when he was invited for dinner…
“A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’ But they all began making excuses! One said… Another said… And another said… The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ After the servant had done this, he returned and reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. None of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet!’” (Luke 14:16-24 NLT)
Now it seems to me there are a couple of lessons for me from this story (probably more)…
I NEVER, I mean NEVER, want to treat God’s invitation to enter Kingdom blessing lightly, or offer flimsy excuses – I want to give His invitation and offer my highest priority! I want to say “YES”! I want to embrace God’s best for my life in Christ Jesus! I want all God offers me! Don’t you?!
I realize that there have been a lot of people who have rejected God’s offer in Christ Jesus! I admit, I don’t understand that! But I’m not going to let that keep me from urging others – in fact, anyone else who will listen – to accept it! I intend to “go out quickly into the streets and alleys and bring in…” anyone who will accept God’s offer in Christ Jesus! … I intend to… “go out to the roads and country lanes and compel others to come in, so that His house will be full.”
Hey, the invitation is out there… Jesus says, “Come! Everything is now ready!” What are you going to do? How are you going to respond?