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Monday, October 11, 2010

10/12/10- Luke 14:16-24 The Kingdom of God is a Party

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.' 19 "Another said, 'I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I'm on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.' 20 "Still another said, 'I just got married, so I can't come.' 21 "The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.' 22 " 'Sir,' the servant said, 'what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.' 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.' "

(Parable of the Great Banquet- everything was ready but the invited would not come)

Thoughts: If something could be defined as "The Universal Greatest Event on the Earth", would we let other things get in the way to prevent us from fulfilling our invitation?  The kingdom of God is a party- the greatest joy.  Jesus said, "I come to give life and give it to its fullest" (Jn. 10:10).  Three people give excuses that are common in our own day.  None of these excuses trade something totally evil for what is totally good.  Rather they are making what is good take the place of what is best.  The first lets business get in the way.  Lee Iacoca, chairman of Chrysler surprisingly said, "No man puts on his tombstone: 'I wish I had worked just a little more.'" The second person is a slave to novelty and fashion.  There are many who want to try the new thing out, or try the new thing on.  In America we have traded Sundays in church for Sundays going shopping.  So we become slaves to consumerism and the latest fashion or fad.  The third person allows another relationship- and being totally absorbed in it- to keep them from the greatest party around.  Many people miss out on the joys in life by their excuses.  Many do little with their lives except be absorbed in their own selfishness- and business, fashion, and sometimes even absorption into our own family can be selfish.  The truth is we often turn away from Christ in order to turn to ourselves.  But we miss the great feast when we choose to eat tv dinners at home-even if they are the newest tv dinner fad.

Prayer: Give me grace, O God, to not trade anything for you.  Help me to love you with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.

John Calvin abridged: Long ago a Spartan said the Athenians knew what was right but did not practice it.  How sad that those in Jesus' day knew so much about God but rejected Him.  These three people were so involved with earthly things that they found no time for God.  This is still universally present; for hardly one in a hundred prefers the kingdom of God to fading riches.  There are no pretenses or excuses for rejecting God's kingdom.  Why does God give us earthly blessings if not to make us grateful and draw us to God?  Those who are so entirely preoccupied with earthly cares that they find no value in the divine invitation shall perish in famine and want.  So whenever God calls us, let us be prepared to follow. 

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