This past year, my wife and I were invited to a number of weddings that we were unfortunately not able to attend. There are a couple more coming up that we will not be able to go to (man, we’re at that age!). Thanks to social media, I got to see what the celebrations were like - the setup, the decorations, the handsome groom beholding his stunning bride as she walks toward him. I got to see the celebration, the partying, the joy.
In Luke 14, Jesus gives a parable of a great banquet. This passage has been bouncing around in my head for quite some time now.
“A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses… Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet” (Luke 14:16-18; 23-24 NIV).
The Kingdom of God is like a great banquet.
Revelation 21 portrays an image of what it will be like to be in the presence of our God forever.
“Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4, NIV).
I don’t know what kind of banquets you’ve been to but the ones I go to are generally lit (I know, I’m super relevant). When I think of a banquet, I think of having a good time eating good food with good people in order to celebrate a great person (or people). That’s literally the definition of a banquet - “a sumptuous feast; an elaborate meal for numerous people often in honor of a person” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).
This definition reminds me of a friend’s birthday party back in high school. A ton of people were invited and a feast was prepared for all those who were invited. A vast majority of the people could not make it for one reason or another and so a handful of us ended up stuffing ourselves with more wings and other goodies (to be honest, I only remember the wings … I love wings…) than would be healthy for an average person to consume in their entire lifetime. God’s banquet is going to be way better - just imagine what the wedding for the Son of GOD would be like!
We are all invited to this banquet. Regardless of your gender, your race, your social status, your political standing, etc. - you are invited. And the thing is, this banquet is not only for later. We can get a taste of it today! Although God’s Kingdom has not come to earth perfectly quite yet (which is why we still pray that it will!), it’s still here in part. Through Jesus Christ, God’s Kingdom has been made available to us today. Through the Holy Spirit, we can be carriers of God’s presence and bring hope, joy, and peace as we love others with the love of God. If we pay attention, we can catch what God is doing here on earth today and experience the joy of partnering with Him to see His Kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven… but first, we have to respond to the invitation.
Come, for everything is now ready.
The invitation is there and everything is already ready for us. We need only to respond. Yet many of us are missing out on the party because we are too busy focused on ourselves and begin making excuses.
I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it.
I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out.
I just got married, so I can’t come.
Don’t miss out on God’s invitation because of the busyness of everyday life.
God’s invitation has not changed for you - it’s still available for you to respond to today. It isn’t too late. You haven’t gone too far.
You. Are. Not. Too. Busy.
I encourage you, even now, to take some time and reflect.
Do you need to renew your view of who the invitation is from?
God is good and God is worthy. Give yourself to the things He is inviting you to. You will never regret giving yourself “too much” to the Lord. You will never feel like you have invested “too much” into eternity.
Do you need to refocus and reprioritize your life?
It is so easy to get swept up by the current of present needs and passions. Take a moment to step back and pray about whether there are things you can loosen the reins on or even set aside.
Father, I pray that strength and courage would rise to step away from the familiar busyness of everyday life. I pray that our eyes would be open to the true worth of the Inviter and, therefore, the invitation. And I pray for a relentless pursuit to respond to the better that You have for us. Amen.