A Tale of Two Invitations (Part One)

You're Invited

Can I point you toward a significant and precious invitation you’ve received in your box? The most important invitation isn’t from me. It’s from someone who knows you well and cares deeply for you—more than you can fathom. You are invited to a special table, a feast actually.

Jesus revealed the heart of the Father through parables. Stories are powerful.

But [Jesus] said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’
But they all alike began to make excuses.
The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’
And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’
And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’
So the servant came and reported these things to his master.
Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’
And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’
And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled… Luke 14:15-23 ESV (parentheses added)

These verses point to the invitation we each receive in our box from our heavenly Father, and the guest of honor at the heavenly feast is the Savior, Jesus. We are invited to an event in honor of Jesus that’s marked by the presence of God. As with any invitation, some respond with joy and plan to attend. Some simply cannot fit it into their busy life (these do not know the significance of the invitation they’ve hurriedly opened and casually dismissed).

Do you see the heart of the One who extends the invitation to the feast? Many are invited, and no expense is spared. Servants are sent so each guest is aware and welcomed. The guest list is expanded to anyone who will come or will humbly allow themselves to be brought in. The house is to be full. How generous!

Places to go, things to do, and people to see…
We imagine there’s plenty of time to reply with regrets and care for relationships later, don’t we?

My family will understand. My friends will flex with me. The stranger in front of me has no idea what’s going on in my world, and I doubt I’ll live in her memory more than five minutes. No one notices whether I’m there or not. God doesn’t require anything of me; He doesn’t need me to do anything. The stuff I’m dealing with is important…

Did you follow that thread? The pattern is self-centered and self-protecting. Family and friends are expected to understand and respond graciously to my circumstances that overshadow the relationship. Then it’s the same song, second verse: personal business and circumstances become more important than every human being. And the Lord.

Have you found yourself focused on the project or to-do list over the people in your circle of influence? Over God? I have. Sometimes things become more important than the people I’ve been gifted to know in life. I admit I have to ask if anything has taken the place of God.

We love each other because he loved us first. 1 John 4:19 NLT

Each of us is invited to the feast. Everything is ready. Come! The honored guest is Jesus, and for good reason. December encourages me to imagine Jesus swaddled in cloth in Mary’s arms (a beautiful moment in time!), but He grew up. He finished His mission to reconcile the broken world to Holy God—He was born, lived, died an excruciating death on a cross, was buried in a borrowed tomb, and rose to life again in complete victory over sin and death!

Reflection—
Am I too busy to think about the relationship to the Inviter? Do I offer an absent-minded nod and an apathetic yes to the invitation? It’s not just a dinner; it’s a celebration of all Jesus has done. Do I remember what Jesus did for me? When was the last time I thought about it? Do I see everyone around me as a reflection of the Creator’s power and unique creativity? Do I remember that my treatment of others is important to Jesus?

Jesus—
Let me never forget what You have done for me. You made a way for me, a sinner, to be with You forever! For now You have me here in this world to love others because I am loved. I’m here to point the people in my life toward you, the One who reconciles, restores, heals, and helps.
I will see Your beautiful face at the feast. Until then, I want to write my life story with the end in mind.

Thanks for stopping by. I’m curious about your experience of the invitation you’ve received. When you first realized you were invited to this feast—whether that was forty years or four minutes ago—how did that make you feel? Dare to share below or at the Facebook Page?

~Jennifer

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