Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Scorning the Invitation

“When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 16 But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17 And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’” (Luke 14:15-24)
The Lord has invited a bunch of people to the banquet, but no one comes. They all have excuses. They bought a new field, a new yoke of oxen, a new wife. Today we have the same excuses, summer homes, cars and trucks, quads and snowmobiles, the new wife, the girlfriend or boyfriend as an excuse for the Sunday brunch.
It’s odd. For the Christian we realize that it is God who has given us all these wonderful gifts, and yet we don’t have time to stop in and thank him for them. Instead they become an excuse to give him the cold shoulder.
Finally God’s invitation passes. It isn’t something to be scorned, but something to be treasured much more than a home, a field, a summer cottage on the lake, a new car, or even a wife or husband. Faith is a gift much greater than all these things. But when you scorn the gift by scorning that which takes care of the gift and preserves it, God’s word and sacrament, nothing good can come from such a practice. The invitation passes. It is revoked, and sent to others.
Of course, this is the thing about God’s kingdom, there is always room for more. He invites everyone, and all alike. So take him up on his offer, and do not think you are too good to be in the kingdom with the rabble, one way or another you will be with the rabble. One does not avoid hypocrites by staying away from church. Better to be with them in the presence of God’s Glory than with them in the presence of his wrath.

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