“…say to those invited, ‘Come, everything is now ready.’ But one by one, they all began to excuse themselves…The master then ordered the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedgerows and make people come in that my home may be filled.'” Luke 14:17-18, 23
Each of the invited guests described in the parable had been invited way in advance of the feast and accepted the invitation. The date of the feast was not yet set, but a commitment was made with the understanding that the invited would drop everything they were doing, and make their way to the feast when it was ready. This was the common practice of the time. To accept the invitation and then excuse oneself from the banquet was a huge insult to the host. Jesus’ audience understood this.
Many interpret this parable as an indictment on the Jews of Jesus’ day, but we have to apply this also for ourselves, for through Baptism in Christ, we too have accepted the invitation to the Heavenly banquet, which is not limited to a particular time, but we must to our daily invitation to encounter the Host of the Banquet.
In the first scenario, the man claims his business is more important than the banquet and excuses himself. Today, the world of business interferes with one’s worship, and we find ourselves too busy to stop and pray.
The second scene a man asks to be excused because something new has entered his life. It would be like having bought a new car, house, boat, or electronic devise, and allowing that novelty or newness to crowd out the time we would otherwise give to God. It is too easy for us to let a new hobby, new appliance, or even a new relationship come between us and our duty to God.
The third person in the parable excuses himself because he is newly married. This seems like a reasonable excuse to us. The Jewish law permitted a newly married man to be excused from military service in order to ensure that the couple has a happy home. It is reasonable that when our personal lives change involving our relationships, we should have to adapt to another schedule for our devotion and prayer life. But unfortunately, at those moments, we place all of our attention on that new relationship, and put our other commitments of worship, volunteering, on the back burner.
Sometimes the good things in life can take the place of the best thing, spending time with the One who made us. Let us recommit today to be ready to stop all that we are doing, and run to our daily heavenly appointment, so when the day of Christ’s return, we may be ready to enter His Heavenly Kingdom.
May God bless you!