Decline the Banquet? Decline the Blessings

“A man gave a great banquet and invited many.  At the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’  But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ The master said, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.  For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’” Luke 14:16-24

As He enjoyed a meal at the house of a Pharisee ruler, Jesus took full advantage of the setting to teach about lavish feasts and not so savory attitudes. By parables and questions, He engaged the attendees’ minds to reveal their hearts. He exposed their stuffed self-importance and appetite for being with the ‘right’ crowd. He made a spread of responsibilities they considered more important than Him- good things all, but not ultimate things. What He offered was far superior than the finest and tastiest and most urgent of the world, and would alone satisfy the soul, yet they habitually sought being sated elsewhere. What they failed to see was that declining God’s banquet was regretting His invitation altogether and refusing His open blessing. (Luke 14:1,7-15)

In the hubbub of life, the pressures of work, possessions, and relationships are real. Yet it is into these very places important to us that Jesus longs to abide. He offers the sustenance of His wisdom and insight, the strength of His Spirit’s presence and joy. We short-sightedly rebuff His invitations, thinking there will be a better time, and actually relinquish divine opportunity. (Proverbs 3:5-6; 16:1-3; Isaiah 33:6; Zechariah 4:6)

Our Lord Jesus daily prepares and arranges for us a lavish feast, manna from His word, discernment, direction, and comfort from His communion with our spirits. Are we regularly partaking? What do we find more pressing than supping with our Savior? What excuses do we recite in attempt to justify prideful urgencies, casual loitering or lazy lingering at lesser tables? Do we rotely ask for His provision, yet refuse to expend the effort to come to the table? To remain salty we must continually dine with the Father and taste His goodness. (Exodus 16:12-16; Psalm 34:8; Isaiah 55:1-3; Matthew 6:11; Luke 14:34-35)

“How silently, how silently,
the wondrous gift is giv’n!
So God imparts to human hearts
the blessings of his heav’n.
No ear may hear his coming,
but in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive him, still
the dear Christ enters in.” ~Phillips Brooks (1868)

Lord, keep me coming to Your divine banquet for daily nourishment and ongoing cause for Your praise.

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