I wonder how many times I’ve passed up the banquet? I wonder how many mornings came and went with the cares of the world taking a primary focus ahead of the availability of what could have been a great feast? How many useless hours of scrolling Facebook, perusing the news, considering the day or worrying about the future at the cost of a fulfilling time of relationship and celebration? The sad reality is that there have been a great number of times that I missed the chance to truly dine.
Recently, I was enjoying the banquet and the contrast became glaring. It was a morning spent accepting the invitation and resisting any temptation to jump into the world too quickly. It was time spent with Jesus considering His words and resting at the table with Him. It was rich and fulfilling and deep and real. I didn’t want to leave.
I was reading during that time the passage in Luke 14 where He describes the invitation to a great banquet and how many who were invited would decline. It was never a rude, obviously disinterested declination, but a choice made to communicate better options or greater value for the invitee. The three following excuses were given:
- I have to go look at a field that I have purchased
- I bought five oxen and I need to go inspect them
- I got married, so I can’t make it
They opted for the lure of riches, the cares of the world and the pleasures of this life. The banquet with the King was not appealing enough to postpone an oxen inspection. For some context, the average life expectancy of an ox is about 20 years and the banquet is an invitation into eternity.
It’s easy to look at the three excuses and judge the reactions of the men. It’s easy to project our reaction if Jesus were to invite us to a banquet and judge ourselves better responders then they. It’s easy to think that we would drop everything to attend, but do our choices support our projection?
What if the banquet were available every day in the setting aside of time with Him? Here’s how He describes it in Revelation 3:20: “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.”
How many meals are we missing?