June 14 – Parables – The Great Banquet

Read Luke 14:16-24

Excuses. Sometimes I’m full of them. Even in writing this devotional I’ve been coming up with them left and right. I’ve been tired, working a lot, there was a family death, I don’t feel like writing…next thing I know, I’m staring at an unmet deadline.

God’s kingdom can seem far away and fade into the background of our daily lives that feel so urgent. It’s not hard to get lulled into the routines of busyness, work, and relationships.

It seems that’s what the first guest list to this party was experiencing. They were busy with work and managing their wealth. They were consumed with relationships. They weren’t needy. So, the master sent his servant to the suffering. To the ones that had little going their way. These invitees readily accepted the invitation and blazed through the door of this generous master.

I hate suffering. It has crashed into my life due to circumstances out of my control and admittedly, I’ve cracked the door open to it on more than one occasion. The thing I’ve learned from suffering is that I’m not as self-sufficient as I want to be and that this life isn’t as grand as I want it to be. Pain makes me look beyond myself for help and care. Suffering reveals my neediness. It makes me eager for a feast. Eager for belonging and fellowship with my Savior and His people. Eager for something better than my earthly life. Jesus talks about the ‘something better’ in Matt.19:29… “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.”

The offer for what lies ahead is one hundred times what we leave behind.

It takes faith to trust that what is ‘to come’ will far outweigh what is right in front of me. It takes faith to accept the invitation to follow Jesus into the unknown. I have the joy of telling you He’s worth following. He holds the abundant life we long for. He sees us and invites us when the world could care less about us. He offers us a place at his bountiful table even though we don’t have the right clothes, family history, wealth, manners, abilities, or morals. His grace-filled invitation is for all, if we will just say yes.

He’s done all the work. We are welcome at His feast. There is room for all. I can’t think of one valid excuse to say no.

Can you?

Spend some time in stillness and prayer and ask God to reveal the excuses you’ve been using to avoid deeper faith and surrender to Him. Tell Him you need Him. Ask Him to meet you there and give you the courage and strength to leave your excuses behind and trust Him for the abundant life He’s dreaming for you to live, now and forever.

Shelly Eberly

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