”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.’” Luke 14.15-24
As a boy I grew up in Wichita Falls, Texas. We lived first on Berkeley and then on Avondale Street. We lived in a section of town called the “Country Club cottages.” Right off of Taft, we were near the center of town, close to Midwestern State University, and not from from the high school. Our house was nice, but not like the million dollar homes across the street and on the other side of the block. We were members of the Wichita Falls Country Club, probably some of the lowest on the economic spectrum but members none-the-less. And sometimes, after church on Sundays, we would go to the “club” for brunch. It was nice and ritzy with white table cloths and a buffet for the banquet. Those lunches were occasional outings for us and very memorable.
When I read this parable of Jesus, I think about those Country club banquets. It’s the closest thing to a banquet with which I can identify. I can’t imagine what dining at the White House would be like, or with the Queen at Buckingham Palace, but Jesus’ parable of a banquet would top them all because his banquet is happening in heaven.
The story goes that a man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. But these guests made up excuses like — I have to go look at the field I just purchased….I just bought five oxen and have to try them out….I just got married and can’t come. When the servant reports this to the master, the master is angry and tells his servant to “Go out quickly into the streets and alleys if the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.” Since there was still room at the table, again the master told the servant to “Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.”
Now it’s hard to tell who were the original guests – were they the Jews? God’s chosen people? Or are they the religious pious, the rich, the wealthy, or those who ignore God? The new guest list involved the poor, sick, lame as well as those scattered about in the countryside. They were not those who were expected to have a seat at the table of the master. And the only reason there was room was that the original guests refused to come. In this sense, I think he is initially referring to the Jewish nation as a whole.
The good news is that we’ve all been invited to Jesus’ Country Club feast! No membership is required. We are invited to come to the table of the Lord. We should make no more excuses, put feasting with Jesus a top priority. Many chase many other treasures on this earth but the only real treasure is communion with God. Everything else fades in comparison to this one eternal blessing and grace.
Will you feast with Jesus today? Will you feast with in for all eternity?
“O Lord God, you are good. Thank you for loving me and for allowing me to walk in your steps. I know I often make excuses to avoid your call, forgive me Father for my sins. Help me say yes to you every moment of every day that I might reflect your glory and one day join with you in heaven. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen