Jesus tells a parable about a man having a big dinner and extending invitations to that dinner. In the parable, the people that were invited, "all alike began to make excuses" (Luke 14:16-24). One said, "I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it; please consider me excused." Another said, "I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please consider me excused". Another said, "I have married a wife, and for that reason I cannot come". In the parable the master of the house was angry and sent his servants out to invite the "poor and crippled and blind and lame". He said, "Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled". The master said, "none of those men who were invited shall taste of my dinner".
Jesus tells this parable because He knows something about human nature. Strange isn't it, that when we are looking for an excuse it seems that one is always handy. The Lord is calling, but people are busy, life is always running at full throttle, and we figure that when it slows down a bit, then we look into what the Lord has to say, the trouble is, it never seems to slow down. Something else is always the priority. You name the season, and it's like a magician pulling a rabbit out of the hat, the (reason) excuse appears out of no where.
We should not esteem lightly the Lord's invitation. Some feel honored when invited to an event where someone of great importance is present. It might be a political figure, or well known athlete or a hollywood star. Every effort is made to attend the event. Schedules are rearranged and the event becomes the highest priority. Let us remember that the Lord said, "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst" (Matthew 18:20).
Spiritual diligence must be the first order of business. The discipline to say no to excuses and yes to the Lord's invitation is the discipline that is often missing in our lives. Paul's admonition seems appropriate, " Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always bounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord" (I Corinthians 15:58).
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