Then he turned to his host. “When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” he said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.”
Hearing this, a man sitting at the table with Jesus exclaimed, “What a blessing it will be to attend a banquet in the Kingdom of God!”
Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’ But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
“The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come so that the house will be full.’“
-Luke 14:12-23, NLT
Being from the South, I was taught from a young age how to throw a proper party. My grandmother instilled in me and my mother the importance of a well-decorated table, coordinated foods, and good hostess practices. Could you imagine how you would feel though if you went through all the work to prepare a top notch party, then all of your friends and family didn't show up? What if they all sent one excuse or another for their absences?
That's exactly what happened in the parable that Jesus tells in Luke 14. The point of the story isn't that we shouldn't get discouraged when the perfect party doesn't go well. The point of the story is that we should be seeking a different group of people to invite.
The host in the story goes into the streets and finds people to fill his home, so his perfect party isn't wasted. His table is filled with strangers.
Jesus wants us to understand the importance of seeking out people who are not expecting us to be kind to them. Individuals who have nothing to give in return. The reward we are receiving is not on this earth, but in heaven, knowing that we are doing God's will. This is the next step for us if we are going to become a Great Commission church.
PRAYER FOR THE SERIES
God, reignite my heart to have a passion for you. Give me eyes to see other people as you see them so that I can love them with my whole heart. Teach me how to be a living example of the hope of Jesus Christ. Give me the courage to shine for Jesus Christ in everything that I do so that I can help bring others into relationship with Christ. Give me a heart for my community. Through your strength, make me into a Great Commission Christian so we can become a Great Commission church.
Faith Parry serves as our Associate Pastor, and has been at the church since 2015. When she's not preaching and teaching, she enjoys documentaries and TV. Read more about Faith here.