Who would come?
Revelation 22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.
15 What a blessing it will be to attend a banquet in the Kingdom of God!
16 Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations.”
17 “When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’”
18 “But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’”
19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’”
20 “Another said, ‘I now have a wife, so I can’t come.’”
21 “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.’”
22 “After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’”
23 “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. ’”
24 “For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.’”
Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States, hosted a lavish, star-studded birthday party for his 60th birthday. Party occurred on August 7, 2021. Obama and his wife Michelle planned a massive party with up to 700 people. It was anticipated to be the biggest social event of the season.
But they soon came under fire for planning a “super spreader” event due to the surge of the COVID-19 Delta virus. Bad press and potentially bad optics made it necessary to cut back. The Obamas had said they were scaling the party down to just “family and close friends.”
Some of their A-list friends reportedly included Beyonce and JAY-Z, George Clooney, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Bradley Cooper, Steven Spielberg, Gayle King, Chrissy Teigen, Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade, Erykah Badu, H.E.R. and Questlove.
Suppose you wanted to throw a lush and magnificent party. Assume you had almost unlimited resources. Who would you invite and why? Would you invite friends and family and those close to you? Would you invite neighbors and associates from work? How would you decide who to invite?
The kingdom of God is like a banquet. It is the biggest social event to usher in all eternity. Our loving Father invites everyone. His invitations reveal his kindness and generous heart. But tragically, not everyone invited would attend. No dread disease could be of concern. How would they decide? They would decide based upon their love and affection for the one who invited them.
“It is heartbreaking that sadly many would refuse His invitation. In the kingdom of God, there is only one compulsion – the compulsion of love” (Barclay).
There are truths in the parable which are classic and timeless. Those invited made excuses, and their excuses do not differ in substance from those we make today. We allow the demands of our work, daily activities, or occupation to usurp the claims of the Father. We get so immersed in this world, that we have no time for the Father and his kingdom. Our possessions and affections become our preferences. The real reason for lame excuses is simple, we do not want to be there.
It is perilously easy for the new and the novel to take up time that should be reserved for the Father. And in our world today there is always something new and different. Good things, important things often squeeze out the claims of the Father.
Simply stated the good crowds out the best.
REFLECT & PRAY
When you are invited by the Father to participate in what He is doing, there is only one wise choice. Drop everything else and jump at the chance to participate in His kingdom plans.
Father thank You that when You invited me to enter Your kingdom, although I was somewhat reluctant and had to do a great deal of reflection and searching, I came!
The Father’s offer of salvation is pictured as an invitation to a great banquet or feast. Everything has been prepared and readied for all who accept. But sadly, throughout history, the majority reject His kind and wonderful invitation. They reject the invitation because they reject the Father who issued it. How tragic!
But what about children of the King? The Father is always at work and He invites us to participate. It is so sad, that children of the King very similar excuses to those of everyone else. We offer excuses because of our selfishness and personal agendas. We put ourselves, before our Father.
So many of the things that we focus on will be there tomorrow. There is so often no hurry to do what we put first, rather than what we should do first. We all have obligations and commitments. But sadly, our thinking is skewed and our priorities are terribly out of whack.
When you find yourself making excuses, do a self-check. Ask yourself why? Does it boil down to the simple fact that you just do not want to come and participate? Whose kingdom are we in? Do we belong to our Father’s kingdom or one of our own making?
Before the Father, our flimsy excuses are nothing less than not so transparent selfishness. Further, they are an insult to Him.
There is a difference between a reason and an excuse. There are times when we may have a legitimate reason for what we do or don’t do. An excuse is often a “smokescreen” for not doing what we know we ought to do.
Billy Sunday defined an excuse as “the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie.”
“The person who is good at excuses is usually not good at anything else” (Wiersbe).
When we pause for a moment and reflect, how many times has the Father asked us, again and again, to come and participate in whatever He has planned, we do not take him up on His offer. Rather than come and participate in whatever he has planned, it is all too easy to make lame, selfish excuses. How can we be so foolish as to turn down our loving Poppa?
Winston Churchill once quipped, “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.”
How often are children the King so much like that, with the singular exception that we don’t always do the right thing no matter how many other things we try first.