In Luke 14, Jesus tells an odd little story. It’s also mentioned in Matthew 22.
In this story, a rich man holds a great banquet, not unlike a party of today, and he invites all his friends and relatives and coworkers and other influential people, but one-by-one they all make excuses as to why they can’t come. This hurts the master, and frustrates him too, so he orders the servants to go out and drag in all the poor and oppressed people off the streets of his town. After they do all that, he has them go out into the countryside and get all those people too so that the party would be a full success.
Jesus said this is like the kingdom of heaven, and I believe it.
First of all, the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God are terms that are interchangeable for the same concept. This is the rule or reign of God in our lives here on earth that causes us to be citizens of heaven. Like the song says, “This world is not my home…”
We then, as Christians, are citizens of heaven, and you know we are citizens when you see the reign of God in our lives. However, there are many people today who are just like these townsfolk in Luke 14.
These people make excuse after excuse as to why they shouldn’t attend the banquet. One has some new oxen and needs to try them out. One just bought a field and needs to go inspect it. One just got married.
People today make similar excuses when faced with the decision of whether or not to follow God’s guidance in their life. I see it all the time. Someone has an opportunity to serve in some capacity to help others, but they are tired or have a party to go to. Someone has an opportunity to tell someone else about Jesus, but they just aren’t gifted in that way – let someone else do it. Someone has an opportunity to be at church with the rest of the kingdom of God, but it’s too early or too dull or too whatever.
As Christians, we are called to live as Children of God. We are expected to be citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, but this kingdom is not a democracy. It is a totalitarian dictatorship with God as supreme ruler. The difference here that makes it attractive, however, is that the citizens get pardon after pardon because of the King’s Son. The citizens are treated with respect and love. The citizens were created by the King, and the King knows how each citizen should live to have the best life possible – eternal life.
So what kind of citizen are you? Do you make excuse after excuse as to why you don’t need to do more than attend church every now and again? Or are you the kind of citizen who follows God and allows Him to reign in your life?
I think that you’ll find the latter option to be the most fulfilling, rewarding existence possible. Just today I heard someone say that you’ll never find happiness through self seeking. It seems that it would work out great to please yourself in order to be happy, but it actually works quite the opposite.
So seek God and His reign in your life, and stop making excuses about it. Then, get to the banquet – we have one every Sunday (we call it communion).