"But Jesus said to him, “A man was giving a big dinner, and he invited many guests; and at the dinner hour he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, because everything is ready now.’ But they all alike began to make excuses … Then [his master,] the head of the household, became angry [at the rejections of his invitation] and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and the lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and the disabled and the blind and the lame.’ And the servant [after returning] said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ Then the master told the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled [with guests].
For I tell you, not one of those who were invited [and declined] will taste my dinner.’”
(Luke 14:15-18a, 21-24 AMP)
1. We must not become comfortable, nor make excuses
As we read these verses, consider how often even we in this current day and age, make excuses for various things, even our Church attendance, inviting our friends, telling people about Jesus, and yet there are multitudes of people who don’t even know that they are invited to this banquet.
2. God wants all to be saved
The Master opens the banquet to the ‘downtrodden’, those whom the Pharisees would have considered ‘unclean’. How often do we look down on people, and yet every single soul is so important to God. Jesus taught us in this parable that the Kingdom is available to EVERYONE. (2 Peter 3:9)
3. Go out to the highways and byways
Sadly, those who rejected the invitation to the banquet actually rejected Christ, and the parable finishes with the Master saying that those people would not taste of His banquet.
As His Church, there is a mandate upon us to GO, to invite those we know, even those we don’t know, into the Kingdom, to the table to dine with Jesus. This is not just about inviting people to Church, although that is a great thing to do, and we have 3 fantastic invite moments coming up: Christmas Spectacular at the Hubs, or Christmas Parties at the Locations, as well as Christmas Day and the New Year’s Eve service at the Hubs.
This is about living a life on mission, on purpose, understanding that you have been given invitation cards to the banquet, from the Master, as many as you want, and He wants you to go and give them out! To go and live a life that shows the love and kindness of Christ. Two ways we can demonstrate kindness are: To listen to people (“be slow to speak and quick to listen”), and, take an interest in others' lives.
A recent National Church survey revealed that 40% of people who are invited by a close friend or family member to attend church will respond positively with a ‘Yes’! Jesus is not satisfied with a partially full banquet hall, He wants every place to be filled. Church, let’s choose to love others and take the initiative to invite people to one of these end of year activities.
SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT:
1. Encourage each other with your own stories of how you were once invited to the ‘banquet’ which led you to coming to know the Lord.
2. Reflect on ways in which you’ve experienced unusual kindness from other people.
3. What’s a next step you could take to invite someone to one of the end of year church activities and/or church service?
4. Spend some time praying with each other for those people you’d like to invite to church.