In Luke 14, Jesus tells the story of a man who gave a great feast. Many people were invited. When the feast was ready, the host sent out his servants to summon the guests. But instead of coming, those who had been invited “all with one accord began to make excuses” (verse 18). So the host had his servants go out and invite anyone they could find to come to the feast. He added, “none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.”
The parable, of course, is about God’s offer of salvation in Christ. It is open to all, but only those who respond to the invitation will partake of the feast.
But as I read the story, I’m reminded of something else. As Christ’s disciples, we receive numerous invitations from our Lord to feast on His word. How do we respond? Do we come rejoicing to the feast, or do we begin to make excuses?
Christian, you have several opportunities every week to assemble with your brothers and sisters for worship and Bible study. In addition, other congregations or individual saints in your area may be offering special opportunities for studying the Scriptures (special classes, home Bible studies, etc.). Nearby churches may be having gospel meetings (in our area these are in great abundance during the spring and fall). And don’t forget about that Bible you own, which is available for you to study day or night. All of these things are open invitations from Jesus to enjoy the feast of His gospel.
However, as with the great supper in the parable, the invitation often meets with a barrage of excuses. I’m always tired after work. The children have so many school activities going on. I’m not in the mood to get out this evening. I don’t like to read much. That special episode of [insert TV show here] is on. The topic doesn’t sound very exciting. I was up late last night. That’s too far to drive. I thought I might go [insert recreational activity here]. I need to clean the house. I just don’t have time today.
Sure, there are unavoidable things that sometimes keep us from answering the invitation to dine on God’s word. But look at the list of excuses again. Better yet, think about the ones you may have used in the past. How often are the things that keep us from the feast not so unavoidable after all? How many times have we missed the supper, not because we couldn’t come, but because we wouldn’t? Jesus said that if we are hungry for righteousness, we will be filled (Matthew 5:6). But often we skip dinner because we decide we’re already full. The result, I fear, is that many disciples are starving their souls and don’t even realize it.
A well-worn saying is still relevant: If you’re too busy for God, you’re too busy. Make time in your life for the things that will draw you closer to Him. Stop making excuses. Reschedule it. Turn it off. Take a shower and wake up. Go there next week. Get it done in advance. Plan ahead and put God at the top of the list. In the end, it comes down to priorities; we always manage to find time for the things we really want to do.
So how about it? Are you seeking the kingdom of God first (Matthew 6:33)? If not, then change. Change your schedule. Change your habits. Change your lifestyle. Change your job. Change your attitude. Change whatever is keeping you from putting God above all else. If that sounds radical or unrealistic, remember what Jesus said: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate [in comparison] his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26).
Jesus invites us to feast on the living bread that gives eternal life (John 6:51). But don’t expect to be filled if you keep skipping dinner.