Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Great Banquet

The Parable of the Great Banquet
 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.’”

As I said in my post yesterday, we talked about this parable at our young life leadership meeting on Friday. There were lots of good things that came out of it, but one question that we discussed, I cannot get out of my mind. The question was this - Why do you think the poor, crippled, blind and lame were invited?

The answer I thought was easy - they have nothing better to do. Of course they would come to a great banquet, they probably never get invited to anything.

And to me this was convicting. How often do I have too many other things to do than be with Jesus? I probably wouldn't say out loud that I have better things to do, but when you look at my time, that would likely be the conclusion you draw. 

And the truth is I like it that way. I like filling my schedule up with all sorts of things to make me feel important and loved. And if I look around at a lot of us who call ourselves Christians, a lot of what I see is people who claim to love Jesus, but still try to fill their lives up with the things of this world. We're not that different from non-Christians. We might not get drunk when we go out on the weekends, but we still want to fill our weekends up with friends and fun. We may try to avoid certain sins, but we still spend more of our time on ourselves, our families, our houses, our stuff and whatever we can to make us feel good. And I know a lot of times (in my case especially) we spend a lot of our time doing stuff "for God" that there is no time left to just be with Him.

Ironically, after leadership on Friday, Derek and I didn't have anything to do. And I felt kind of bummed. I was pretty sure that some of our friends would be hanging out, but no one had called us. And when stuff like that happens, I always feel so bummed out. I wonder why no one called me. I've gotten better at dealing with this (see my post on the idol of importance) and I know that it's ok if I'm not invited to everything all the time, but it still kind of stinks when it's a weekend night and no one called you to see what you were up to.

After talking about this parable though, for the first time, I think I was glad to be in that situation. I realized that when I have time like that, a whole evening with nothing that I feel compelled to do, then I am available to be with Jesus. And that to be the person that everyone calls when they want to hang out may not actually be the best thing. I realized that I don't always have to have a full calendar of things to do. I want to have "nothing better to do" than to just be with Jesus. What a blessing. 

Now, before you go feeling sorry for me like I have no friends (or before the friends I have read this and feel like jerks) I must say that we do have great friends who we do spend a lot of our time with that I love and are a huge blessing in my life. And I am not mad at my friends for not calling me all the time to see what I am doing. I don't call them all the time either. I know we have probably all felt this way at some point. My point is that I don't need to always have something to do or someone to hang out with. To have "nothing better to do" is really a blessing. And I need to work on making my schedule more like that of a social outcast than a social butterfly, so I won't miss out on the best thing - being with God.

So Friday night, Derek and I went home and spent some time reading scripture, talking, praying a lot and just being with God. And it was so good. And there really is nothing I would have rather been doing. I hope this is a lesson I keep with me for a long time.


Kari said...

I love this post and I love you!

chloë. said...

great post. it is true we don't look so different from the world more often than not, and that really needs to change. glad God used the example of your Friday night for you to get some quality time with Him!

Randi.Cariella said...

Anne- thank you! I really needed to hear this. I am trying (desperately) to learn the difference between being overwhelmed with school and being consumed with it. And, I kept thinking about that as I read. Also, can totally relate to the wanting to have fun and be with friends and sometimes feeling left out. I like your perspective. I need to remember that as well! :)

carissa @ lowercase letters said...

great post. i always think about mary and martha... i busy myself all too often instead of enjoying the Lord's presence.

Callie Nicole said...

What a wonderful post, Anne, and good point - I feel like I do the same thing, keeping myself so busy that I don't spend the time with the Lord that I should