Rejecting the Invitation: Luke 14:7-24

Focus Passage: Luke 14:7-24 (GW)

 7 Then Jesus noticed how the guests always chose the places of honor. So he used this illustration when he spoke to them: 8 “When someone invites you to a wedding, don’t take the place of honor. Maybe someone more important than you was invited. 9 Then your host would say to you, ‘Give this person your place.’ Embarrassed, you would have to take the place of least honor. 10 So when you’re invited, take the place of least honor. Then, when your host comes, he will tell you, ‘Friend, move to a more honorable place.’ Then all the other guests will see how you are honored. 11 Those who honor themselves will be humbled, but people who humble themselves will be honored.”

 12 Then he told the man who had invited him, “When you invite people for lunch or dinner, don’t invite only your friends, family, other relatives, or rich neighbors. Otherwise, they will return the favor. 13 Instead, when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the handicapped, the lame, and the blind. 14 Then you will be blessed because they don’t have any way to pay you back. You will be paid back when those who have God’s approval come back to life.”

 15 One of those eating with him heard this. So he said to Jesus, “The person who will be at the banquet in the kingdom of God is blessed.”

 16 Jesus said to him, “A man gave a large banquet and invited many people. 17 When it was time for the banquet, he sent his servant to tell those who were invited, ‘Come! Everything is ready now.’

 18 “Everyone asked to be excused. The first said to him, ‘I bought a field, and I need to see it. Please excuse me.’ 19 Another said, ‘I bought five pairs of oxen, and I’m on my way to see how well they plow. Please excuse me.’ 20 Still another said, ‘I recently got married, and that’s why I can’t come.’

 21 “The servant went back to report this to his master. Then the master of the house became angry. He told his servant, ‘Run to every street and alley in the city! Bring back the poor, the handicapped, the blind, and the lame.’

 22 “The servant said, ‘Sir, what you’ve ordered has been done. But there is still room for more people.’

 23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go to the roads and paths! Urge the people to come to my house. I want it to be full. 24 I can guarantee that none of those invited earlier will taste any food at my banquet.’ ”

Read Luke 14:7-24 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

Of all the different characters included in our passage/parable, let’s turn our attention to the original invitees; those who were first invited but who blew off their invitation.

The one thing that really stands out in my mind about this group is that these people are who we could call “convenience friends” – friends who are only friends when it is convenient for them. They seem to be friendly with the man who was hosting the banquet occasionally, but the friendship was pretty low on their priorities. They seem to have placed other tasks ahead of attending.

However, what happens if we turn this around onto us. How “convenience friend-like” are we being with God/Jesus? Are we only interested in doing our own thing, but then at the moment we need help, we are praying and asking for assistance? Or are we willing to put the tasks aside to enjoy the friendship?

While the spontaneous invitees only have to accept the invitation to be included, these “convenience friends” seem to have to reject the invitation to be excluded. The way they exclude themselves is that they have placed other priorities ahead of God. In the three excuses, we see three categories that often can take precedence over our relationship with God.

In our lives, do we let our material possessions come first? Like the man who wanted to go check out a piece of land (that he already bought), are we constantly needing to check out our balance sheet like it is a score-card for our success? This man gives up a relationship with God for some stuff. Is this a path we really want to head down?

However, what if we let our career come first? Like the man who needed to test out his new oxen, do we place our focus on how much we can accomplish, or how much status we can acquire with what we do? This man gives up a relationship with God for a bigger paycheck. Is this a path we really want to head down?

The last original invitee is a little trickier, because what if we place our family and spouse ahead of God? Like the person who simply didn’t want to come because he just got married, are we more interested in spending time with our spouse than spending time with God? Are we really thinking that these two relationships have to be in conflict? Is there any logical reason that the host who invited this person wouldn’t have also extended the invitation to his new wife? This man gives up a relationship with God for a relationship with a person – someone who he could have easily had a relationship with as well. Is following this man’s example a path we really want to head down?

I hope your answer is “No” to each of these three paths. Instead I hope that you choose to place having a relationship with God as the highest priority in your life. The myth that we can easily fall into is that having a relationship with God doesn’t allow for these other successes. Instead, God is interested in being first in our lives, and helping us be the best we can be in these other areas.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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