We have just received an invitation to the greatest banquet of all time. Are we going to say “yes”? Accepting the invitation means we are willing to make the commitment of believing by faith in the redeeming love of Jesus Christ. It means that we accept all the other responsibilities that the invitation requires. Our “yes” is not only for the banquet. It is for a surrendered life.
In Luke 14:15-23, Jesus shares the parable of the great banquet. Just as in this parable, we, too, are invited. But also just like in the parable, there are those of us who will make excuses not to attend. The excuses in the parable were reasonable, but they were not sufficient enough to refuse the invitation. Isn't this true in our lives? What are our excuses that keep us from serving the Lord? Is it inconvenient or does something else seem more important? The banquet to which we are invited calls for our complete surrender. It calls for obedience and for letting go of everything in our lives that hinders our total commitment.
God does not want excuses. He desires our love and an undivided heart which gives Him full allegiance. He longs for our loyalty and faithfulness. We are called to “go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full” (Luke 14:23b). We are to compel the lame to come and be healed—the blind to come and see. Yet we, in our own lameness and blindness, have enough trouble compelling ourselves to come and be healed. With our lack of commitment the excuses mount, and we remain unable to experience the inexhaustible power of His love which comes with surrender.
God loves us even when we have allowed excuses to hinder our love and commitment to Him. But His forgiving love does not give us a license to decide what we will surrender or won't surrender. He wants us to come to His banquet and will do everything in His power to get us to say “yes”. He will discipline us because He wants us to experience the fullness of surrender. If we reject His invitation to commit our lives, then we will experience a separation from His unconditional love that no human love or attempt at fulfillment can ever bridge.
There is an invitation on the desk of my heart. I can't ignore it. It waits for me to pick it up and respond with every fiber of my being. It calls for my surrender, and for my obedience. Am I finally willing to allow God to have my heart and life? Do I desire His will more than my own? Am I through with excuses that keep me from experiencing the fullness of His love? I will accept His invitation to the greatest of banquets by surrendering my life and my will to Him. One day at His banquet I will finally see Him face to face, and realize it was never a question about His love for me. It was and will always be about my love for Him.
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