We will be celebrating a special guest not only in our services but also a dinner party. Tonight we are hosting a fundraiser banquet for Mercy29. Yesterday I took time to get the Mercy29 brochures done, Africa and India pictures developed, and other items for the table. When having an event and to make it a successful one, planning is a must. I know there are others who have prepared also and did more behind the scenes than I have. From working with the caterers, table linens, seating arrangements, center pieces, decorating; making of the presentation to making of the agenda it takes a lot of work. Since we were limited in space, we sent out invitations to other ministers and personal friends. We then opened it up to the leaders of the church and then to the congregation. Out of one hundred invitations we have eighty people who responded and are coming, however we wish it had been to capacity. This made me think of a wonderful story that Jesus told about a banquet.
The parable talks about a man giving a banquet. When his servant is sent to invite a group of guests to come, they all have excuses. The difference in sending out invitations was that the Palestinians did not confirm or RSVP. On the day of the banquet, the host would send a servant out to invite the guests and bid them to come. Therefore, the servant had to go and fetch the guests on that day. However, the first group of guests all excuse themselves when the servant comes. Each of them made an excuse about a field, about oxen, about a wife.
The excuse of the first one was his need to examine his newly purchased field, so he could not attend. In ancient times, those who could afford to buy a field had to be rich landlords. Thus, he had to be rich. The excuse of the second guest was his need to evaluate his five pairs of oxen he had just purchased. According to exegetical scholars, Luke’s description of this man indicates someone not buying oxen for the first time. Therefore, he had to be a big landowner. In other words, he too was a rich man. From the background of the third guest, Luke does not reveal very much.
The host was now very angry and sent his servant to invite a second group of guests. This group included the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame. The crippled, the blind, the lame and those handicapped in today’s society hope to find a nice job but face a greater difficulty greater than that of able-bodied people. Needless to say, when religious, racial and sexist forms of discriminations were so common 2000 years ago, nine out of ten handicapped people had to beg in a society, which provided no legal protection from discrimination. Therefore, they were, in fact, the “poor”. The third group consisted of those living in the hedgerows, people deserted by upper class people like Pharisees and the Scribes. These outcasts could not be the rich. In other words, all those who finally enjoyed the banquet were the poor.
Although you wish everyone could come to your banquet just as the king did, there are things that prohibit us from always attending everything we can because of our busy lifestyle. When it comes to the Kingdom of God, He bids us all to come to His great feast. He has a table spread and a celebration of honor. The invitations have been sent out and no doubt there have been servants who have came to all of us saying, “Today is the day to come”. Salvation is a now celebration. Repenting is a now invitation. Receiving Him into our lives is a now decision. A table of wisdom, riches, life, and peace awaits us now. People will always have excuses for not attending our little banquets here on earth however it is the final call of the great banquet we should not miss or have excuses for. Today is the day for salvation!
2 Corinthians 6:2 For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. (NIV)
The gospel day is a day of salvation, the means of grace the means of salvation, the offers of the gospel the offers of salvation, and the present time the proper time to accept these offers. The morrow is none of ours: we know not what will be on the morrow, nor where we shall be. We now enjoy a day of grace; then let all be careful not to neglect it. (Matthew Henerys Commentary)
Isaiah 55:3 Open your ears, and come to me! Listen so that you may live! I will make an everlasting promise to you- the blessings I promised to David.
Prayer: Heavenly Father I pray that I never have excuses to why I have not been obedient to your bidding to come to Your table to dine with you. Lord we are eagerly waiting for the servant to come and get us to take us to enjoy your table you have prepared for us. Let us not have excuses but let all us be ready to go. In Jesus name. Amen.