Accepting God’s Invitation

Luke 14: 15-24
Rom 12:5-16ab / Ps 131

Blessed is the one who will dine in the kingdom of God.
(Luke 14:15)

How we hurt God with our rejection
When we spurn His invitation.
Woe to those who have refused to come
To the banquet of God’s kingdom.

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.” Jesus replied: “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. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ 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.’ ‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’ 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. I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’” (Luke 14:15-24)

Reflection

Sometimes, a dinner invitation can change a person’s life. Many years ago, a wealthy acquaintance surprised me by saying that my kind gesture gave him the big break in his life. He related that I had invited him to a big party in our house to celebrate the silver wedding anniversary of my parents. Being poor, he said he didn’t have a formal wear, but I had lent him my coat and tie. Being tall and handsome, none of the ladies that he danced with in the party that night ever guessed his humble origins. It was when he discovered that he possessed the natural confidence and flair of a marketing man, qualities that he exploited to become a successful businessman.

God’s invitation is a free gift that has transformed many lives for the better. We were blessed that we did not take it for granted. When a couple invited us to a breakfast meeting 17 years ago, little did we know that it would lead to a new life in the Spirit, where we would find the free gifts of a deeper faith, real love and the hope of eternal salvation. Plus the bonus of a prayerful community. Ever since we found this “treasure on earth,” we have in turn been doing our share in inviting friends and even strangers to the BCBP’s weekly breakfast meetings. Most of the businessmen and professionals we invited had convenient excuses not to attend. But most of those who did attend have never regretted it.

For many of us in the Brotherhood, an invitation to a BCBP breakfast is a foretaste of Christ’s invitation to join Him and all the faithful to an eternal feast in His kingdom. He does not impose on our freedom to heed His call, just as He doesn’t influence our beliefs and our choice to love. But to spurn God’s invitation, after all the love and sacrifice that He has given us is like being invited to a wedding feast, saying “Yes, I will come,” and afterwards giving some lame excuse that you cannot make it due to some other matter that needs your attention. What a great insult to the One Who paid a high price to offer us this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! To those who have constantly refused God’s invitation, Jesus has this to say, “I tell you, not one of those who were invited (but did not come) will get a taste of my banquet.”

What we have become we owe everything to You, Lord, when You invited us to Your fellowship. As your guests we have received all Your gifts because we have nothing of value that we can give to You, but our willingness to accept Your invitation. Amen.

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