There are three things we use as reasons for not participating, supporting, or helping others. These same excuses were used by people thousands of years ago, and are chronicled in a story in the Bible. This parable involves a banquet where many people are invited but choose not to attend.
Jesus was at the house of a Pharisee, and He was being closely watched. You’d think it was a political scenario, for folks were out to find anything they could to pin on Him to discredit Him before the people. First, He healed a man with dropsy on the Sabbath day. He also noted where the guests chose to sit in this house of the Pharisee, and He addressed their hearts in the matter. They positioned themselves according to power, prestige, and self-importance. Sounds political, doesn’t it?
Jesus told them that their reasons for inviting someone to a feast should not be for the purpose of receiving a reciprocal invitation; rather, they were to invite those unable to return the favor. This was a paradox from the way they normally functioned. To them, life was about materialism, relationships, and prestige. Jesus set them straight.
Excuses, excuses, excuses
Then a guest at the table speaks about blessing when one is invited to feast in the Kingdom of God. You can read the entire encounter here.
The parable Jesus tells following this guest’s statement is the story of a wedding banquet. Guests are invited to attend a wedding, but they give excuses for ignoring the invitation. These excuses for not participating are the same ones we use today.
- Materialism. “I’ve bought a piece of land, so I can’t come.”
- Relationships. “I’ve married a wife, so I can’t come.”
- Position. “I have oxen, and I need to go try them out.”
Too easily, we allow our material possessions, relationships, and position (status) to keep us from participating at His table. Our Master wants His table filled. He wants all of us – our relationships, material possessions, and our position. None of them are an excuse to withhold ourselves from Him or from the church.
The master’s servant is instructed to go out to the byways and compel people to come in. He wants his table to be filled. We should be participating instead of making excuses.
The table is large enough for everyone. So is the invitation. It is open to everyone we know and everyone we don’t know. We need to stop making excuses. Instead of using our possessions, relationships, and status as a reason for busyness, we need to become like a beggar. We need to be like the satisfied beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.
Photo attribution goes to Arabs for Christ through http://www.freebibleimages.org/