Jesus replied: "A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests.
At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, 'Come, for everything is now ready.'
"But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, 'I have just bought a field and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.'
"Another said, 'I have just bought five oxen and I'm on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.'
"Still another said, 'I just got married, so I can't come.'
"The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town
and bring in the poor, the crippled, and the lame.'
" 'Sir,' the servant said,'what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.'
"Then the master told his servant, 'Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in , so that my house will be full. I tell you not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.' "
Many guests were invited; they all made excuses not to come.
We had a similar happening here this weekend. My son invited 19 of his classmates to a birthday party and no one came. This was not a huge surprise. Over the past nine months, my son has been invited to several parties for his classmates. He has gone to each one. Every time I take him, we are usually the only ones who show up. Sometimes one other person from his class might be there. Luckily, there are usually relatives of the birthday child or neighbors that are at these parties, except for the very first one we went to in the fall. We were the only ones to show up to that one; no relatives and no neighbors because the family had just moved here.
So, we did what Jesus taught in this parable. We hunted up neighbor children, that hadn't originally been invited, and asked if they would like to come over to The Rationalist's party. Right then. In that moment. With no preparation. We went to the "second string" because the starting players hadn't shown up. These children weren't "second string" because there was something wrong with them or we disapproved of them. My son simply didn't have as strong of a relationship with them. He only sees and plays with them every once in a while, as opposed to his classmates that he sees and interacts with every day. We have a small house and could only invite so many people. I thought 19 was quite enough, even knowing that many wouldn't come.
Like the master in the parable, I was a little peeved at the original invitees. We had offered them a chance to come and partake in a fun day with food, cake, games, and fellowship. They were all too busy to avail themselves of our gracious offer. Yet, we found others who were willing to drop whatever expectations they might have had for the day and spend it with us. They woke up that morning, expecting nothing, only to be surprised by a fun day full of treats and good times.
We lived out one of Jesus's parables.
It gives me a new view of those who are too busy to take the gracious gifts He offers and those who are ready to come; expecting nothing, yet gaining everything.