15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed are those 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.’”
Jesus tells this story in response to a comment about how wonderful it would be to attend a feast in God's kingdom. This story details who will eat at such a feast and it's not necessarily who you'd think!
The original guests do not show up for the feast. These were the people the host wanted at the feast – his first choice. Yet none of them show up! On the surface they seem to provide reasonable excuses as to why they can't attend. The host is not just disappointed he is furious and moves onto his “B” guest list – the misfits! There is still room around the table so the host instructs the servant to go further afield and basically invite anyone. It doesn't matter that these people are unknown to the host. The original guests can be likened to the Jews while the guests from t
he highways and byways are like the gentiles.
It is worth noting that the host wanted the meal to be enjoyed and his house full. Ultimately the feast was open to anyone who said “yes” and showed up.
Today this passage of Scripture spoke to me about priorities. The excuses the original guests gave were legitimate but caused them to miss out on what God had prepared. I don't always see or realise what God has on offer. Heck God himself is at the table, my name is on a place setting and I'm not there for one reason or another! It's not just the food or God's provision that I miss out on but time in His presence. Time just hanging out together.
Dear God, help me to value time with you and not let the stuff of life preoccupy me, amen.
Written by Ainslie Woods