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 14:16-23
Who do you identify with in this parable? Our first response may be to see ourselves as the servants who are sent out to compel people in from the “highways and hedges.” But this is not who Jesus wants us to identify with. No. He wants us to identify with the ones being reached; “the poor and crippled and blind and lame.”
Only as we believe the gospel of Jesus for ourselves will we be of any use to God for loving and serving others. With humility, we must acknowledge our own sin, how it blinds us, and cripples us, and makes us poor. Only then can we see the good news in this parable. The king has sent for us! Even when we are too proud or too ashamed to come, he compels us with his grace. We too are invited to join in the kingdom feast because the king made himself poor. Through his obedient life, atoning death, and victorious resurrection, Jesus made a way for us to be reconciled to God.
It is our growing passion to take this gospel message of kingdom reconciliation to the small towns and rural communities of South Carolina, beginning in Orangeburg.