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.’”
Have you ever been invited to a party, declined the invitation, heard about it – and then wished you’d gone?! You start hearing stories about all the fun that they had and who turned up. And they keep talking about it. You realise that you made the wrong decision and you’re like: Dang! Why did I say no?
Or maybe you’ve had an opportunity to do something, but like these people in the story, you keep giving excuses why you can’t do it. That other things are more important. Or for whatever reason, you just don’t want to. Maybe you’re afraid to take the chance? But then you hear or read about other people who take up the opportunity and do the very thing you want to do. You then realise it could’ve been you. Perhaps you ask yourself: Why did I back out? Why didn’t I try?
It’s these kind of moments that are filled with regret. As I read this passage, that’s what I imagine these invited guests may have felt once they heard what they missed out on. The master of the banquet was so generous that he wanted a full house. He wanted to share it with his guests.
So the next time God presents me with an invitation or an opportunity, I don’t want to come up with excuses. The pain of regret is too much. Instead, I want to take a chance – a step of faith – and respond to the Master’s invitation. Holy Spirit fill me with your courage!
Written by Gab Martin