12 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”
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.’”Luke 14:12-24 (NIV)
Most brides, grooms, and their families struggle with the daunting task of creating an invitation list for their wedding service and reception. During our current pandemic, this task has become even more complex. Imagine engaging in this effort and sending out the invitations, only to have all the guests give excuses why they cannot attend. What an extremely disappointing experience this would be. Not to mention the wasted expense of food costs and rental fees. While this scenario is very unlikely, you can imagine the feelings of hurt, disappointment, sadness, and anger which would exist.
This type of scene is exactly what Jesus conveys in the story which he tells in today’s passage. Jesus indicates that the host of a banquet responds to the guests not accepting his invitation by making guests of the people of the streets and country side. His new guests are not capable of repaying the invitation in any way.
Reading Jesus’s story and exhortation causes are to consider an invitation and the response to the innviation. We have been invited by Jesus to come and join him in a heavenly banquet which the Father has prepared. An opportunity to sit around a table filled with goodness, love, forgiveness, and great joy. All of us are undeserving of the invitation. None of us are ever able to repay the invitation. Yet those are exactly the qualifications necessary to receive the invitation. Our response is all that matters. Will we come in acceptance of the invitation, or will we make excuses why we must decline? Will we let our activities of life and other priorities lead us to miss out? The invitation is always before us, the choice is our own.