Friday, October 21, 2016

Excuses, Excuses!

Luke 14

16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At 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.’34 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?

In Luke 14, Jesus is having dinner at the home of a prominent Pharisee. Again he heals a man and sends him home. He reasons, "Which of you would if your son fell into a well would not pull him out?" At this, they were silent and didn't know what to say. Then, he uses a parable to show the heart of God to reach all people, not just the Jews.

When a man threw a great banquet and sent out invites to many guests, they all had excuses for why they could not attend. They ranged from trying out some new oxen, checking a newly bought piece of property, and probably the most humorous one, being married. I guess his wife was cooking his favorite meal that night. After going out and inviting the original guests, he realizes there is still room. And he says,

23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”

So what did he mean? In the context, he was referring to the Jews who would reject him, and then the gospel would be taken to the Gentiles. But he also relates this to everyone when he points out how they all had different excuses for not coming. The point is God still wants his banquet hall filled. Another verse says, "God doesn't want anyone to perish but all people to come to a knowledge of the truth."

So how can we apply this? First, when we invite people to come to know God through Jesus, we can expect plenty of excuses. But the passage says, "Don't quit, compel them to come in!" Do we provide a compelling case for unbelievers to come to our places of worship? Or, are we content to have dinner with those who are already there? Second, when God calls us to a deeper level of discipleship, do we make excuses? I am too busy at work? We've got sports on Sunday, so we can't go to church? Or whatever other excuse one might use. E.g. Sunday football.

God wants to have his banquet hall full! Do we share his passion?

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