Most of us are familiar with the parable of the banquet in Luke 14: 16- 24.
A wealthy man threw a party and sent out invitations. When everything was ready, he sent out his servants to collect the RSVP cards but was disheartened to know that his esteemed guests were not coming. The reasons they were not coming make for an interesting study of the excuses we often make when we want to wriggle ourselves out of God’s call. One just bought a field, another was going to try out a newly bought oxen while the other one just got married.
Let’s break the story down using our own terminologies and see if we find ourselves in it. One guy bought real estate. This sounds big to me. He must have been a rising entrepreneur or a really dedicated career person and this was his first real possession. All his years of hard work finally paid off and he meant to enjoy it before he goes around rejoicing at other people’s parties.
The second one was tied down by the burdens of work. His oxen (a new-fangled farming technology at that time) represent how he must be on top of things at work. Maybe he just got promoted, he’s got responsibilities to attend to and partying was the last thing on his mind.
The third guy’s concern was his family. I know how we often hear people say that they will never sacrifice their families on the altar of success in the ministry or work or business or anything else. That sounds very reasonable and admirable at the same time. Family comes first, we get that. But this guy has lost all his manners when he got married. Attending a banquet and staying married are NOT conflicting things.
Now we are all aware that this story is a parable of God’s invitation for us to join his banquet in heaven. What’s very interesting about this is the fact that all their alibis were not sinful things. Never. I mean look at them again. There is nothing wrong with buying a piece of land, nothing sinful with being excellent at your job and definitely nothing unholy about keeping your marriage solid. For the record, these are good things, in fact, these are the very things we strongly pray about! Properties, a high paying job and a good marriage- who doesn’t pray for these?
So if that’s the case, what is wrong with this picture then? I guess the answer lies in the fact that they could have all gone to the banquet and still managed to attend to their individual businesses. I mean, whoever told them that obeying God is mutually exclusive with having a good life? Looking closely, you’ll find that their problem is the indifference behind their reasons. They didn’t care about the invitation and by extension, the didn’t care about the person behind the invitation.
You know what’s the most regrettable and heartbreaking part of this whole thing? They got excluded from the glorious banquet of God not because of some grave, despicable sins they did but because they were blessed with answered prayers. For some reasons, they got too caught up with enjoying God’s blessings that they forgot to maintain a right relationship with the blessor.