Thursday, July 2, 2015

They Began Making Excuses

“Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations.  When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’ But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.” Luke 14:16-18

We are invited to the greatest banquet---Jesus’ offer to follow Him and have eternal life. All the pressing needs of this life---seemingly important things to us at the time, take precedence over Jesus. We can only put off His invitation for so long. Some put it off for a lifetime and it is too late. Following Jesus is for a lifetime. Accepting Jesus as ‘Lord’ means we are submitting our very life, our self will, our hearts to Him as King.

Life is busy and eventful, and full of pressing things that demand our attention. Yet, when we commit to God’s invitation, to following Him, we will put Him first and stop our excuses. We can learn to gain wisdom, live simply and follow the guidance of God.

There are a lot of blogs devoted to order and simplicity, giving advice so  that we can live better lives, yet we need God at the top of the list in order to find His order and simplicity for us.

We are to seek FIRST His kingdom---not order, simplicity, tasks, or pressing, urgent needs of life, and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33) It we are stuck in the rat race of the American way of life, this will take a reordering of our lives to find, but God will help us and guide us each step of the way. As we seek first His kingdom those principles began to guide our decisions and we find ourselves living every day more and more for the ultimate end of God’s feast. We don’t want to ‘miss out’ on the invitation and find it is too late.

“Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’  Another said, ‘I now have a wife, so I can’t come.’
“The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’  After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’  So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full.  For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.’” Luke 14:19-24

Has Jesus invited us, and we have denied him, because we began to make excuses and have never stopped?
After this teaching in Luke, Jesus talks about the cost of being a disciple of His. He says “don’t begin until you count the cost.” (Luke 14:28) The cost may be loss of wealth in this life, being popular or admired, and simply not living for material things and earthly gain---living for our ‘excuses.’ Many count the cost and conclude it is too high, others begin the road and turn back again, others never fully realize what it is to live with Jesus guiding everything first in their lives.
Jesus has a perfect and unimaginable banquet waiting for us. The lie the enemy puts in front of us is that everything we have to do, every luxury to live for on earth is worth more than Jesus. So we sacrifice our eternal life for the temporary and fleeting pleasures that pass away. We reject God; and view the temporary things in front of us as more important, we place an urgency on the things right before our eyes instead of placing our eyes on Jesus.
Jesus calls to us “repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He still calls to our hearts, He waits for us to accept His invitation. We still reject Him with hard hearts, making excuses and go our own way. There is only so long we can continue making excuses for not following God’s way. We should make excuses to the world---”I can’t follow your way because it means I will sacrifice living for God’s kingdom.”

Prayer: “Lord, it’s easy to see the pressing needs and wants of this life as permanent and I often live for those and not for you. Show me how to let go of my excuses, to live for you and fix my eyes on what is eternal. Help me to keep my heart focused on the eternal life you have prepared for me. Amen.”

“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Romans 14:17

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,  not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
“Too many sit at the banquet table of the gospel of Jesus Christ and merely nibble at the feast placed before them. They go through the motions - attending their meetings perhaps, glancing at scriptures, repeating familiar prayers - but their hearts are far away.” -Joseph B. Wirthlin

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