Luke 14:15-24

One of the dinner guests, on hearing this, said to him, “Blessed is anyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 

Then Jesus said to him, “Someone gave a great dinner and invited many. At the time for the dinner he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for everything is ready now.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of land, and I must go out and see it; please accept my regrets.’ Another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please accept my regrets.’ Another said, ‘I have just been married, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the slave returned and reported this to his master.

Then the owner of the house became angry and said to his slave, ‘Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ And the slave said, ‘Sir, what you ordered has been done, and there is still room.” Then the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the roads and lanes, and compel people to come in, so that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those who were invited will taste my dinner.’” Luke 14:15-24

Yesterday afternoon I was sitting with a few of our middle school families waiting for the others to arrive for confirmation class. Our confirmation program gathers young people and their parents for weekly conversations about key aspects of our faith. Yesterday the topic turned to the first part of the Apostles’ Creed. We were going to be talking about our conceptions about God.

4:00 PM came but most of the class didn’t. It turned out they were in the parking lot, thinking that the door was locked. Those few minutes of waiting turned my mind toward thinking again about how life works for our middle school families. Their lives are crazy.

School for kids and work for parents are pressure packed with unrealistic expectations. Soccer, baseball, swimming, music lessons, tutoring – it is amazing how much time families are expected to devote to the things that are supposed to be fun. It is nothing for such activities to require, during the school year, two nights for games and two nights for practice, not to mention the leagues and tournaments on the weekends.

Call me old-fashioned but it amazes me that scheduling something at church between 4:00-5:30 PM requires families to choose – do we go to church or do we participate in this tournament?  I really do admire our families because they ARE committed to what we are trying to do and they DO make every effort to keep all the balls in the air while carving out time to be there for our learning time.  But why does that have to feel like such a struggle and sacrifice?

It isn’t just Christian community that finds itself marginalized in the business of busy-ness, it is also quiet dinners at home around the family table, quiet time in the morning for prayer and reflection, or simply just being still.

What drives all this incessant driving around to get to the next thing on time?

Everyone invited to the banquet in today’s reading had an excuse. At face value, they were all great excuses. All seemed like important stuff. But their excuses cost them their place at the table. Yet the table was full at the end because the doors were thrown open to those who otherwise were being passed over by life. Or maybe passed over by the life that just seemed like a life.

We ended up gathering around our tables in the fellowship hall having a great conversation about God. A conversation that continues next week.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, grant us the serenity to accept responsibility over our own stewardship of time and money, the courage to say no when we need to and yes when we want to, and the wisdom to keep our priorities straight. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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4 Responses to “Luke 14:15-24”

  1. Georgene Says:

    This arrived as I was struggling with a request to add another night as a volunteer at the local homeless shelter. My other option was something I wanted to do, but on a priority level most would have considered it low. Thanks to your message I made the right choice.

  2. Steve Leeman Says:

    Great post. It made me realize, like so much I am grateful for, that we DON’T do this to Jonathan. We let him have some time to breathe deeply, and be introspective and quiet, and not always having to be on the way to someplace else. Thanks so much!

  3. Carolee Groux Says:

    You have struck a note with all of us on time management and setting priorities. Where does Jesus fit into our busy schedules? With all of our commitments and activities for ourselves and our children, are we cheating on making time and room for God? You are so right in suggesting that we set aside time for quiet reflection, prayer, and bible study, Confirmation and Sunday School classes. Certainly God should have top billing in our lives.

  4. oma500 Says:

    When i was growing up, Texas had the “Blue Law”. Sundays were reserved, at least in our community, for church and family. The stores weren’t even open. No school, sports or other secular activities took place on Sundays. When a classmate and fellow high school choir member died, her funeral was held at the Methodist church on a Sunday afternoon. Her family requested that the choir sing at the service. In order for us to participate, we each had to have a permission slip signed by our parents first. It was a scramble, but we did it. The only other school activity that took place on a Sunday was baccalaureate. I think everything changed, over a period of time, when the “Blue Law” was repealed. Then Sunday became just another day of the week. I miss the “Blue Law”.

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