Plot Twist: Week 8 - Day 3
Father, let me be thankful for all the blessings in my life…but not covet them to the point of giving them priority over you in my life. My life is always well anchored on the ‘rock’ when I put my trust, my hope, my dependency on you, Lord.
Read: Luke 14:20, NIV
20 "Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’”
Some of us will read this passage and snap right back at God and say, “Lord, you told me to be faithful to raise my family. You said if I couldn’t rule my own house, I was not fit to serve you. I Timothy 3:5, NIV says “If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?” The tone and backdrop of this response makes it sound like the man is making another excuse to Jesus as to why he cannot follow Christ right “now.” We, as humans, are famous for putting off until tomorrow what can be done today! But before we “stone” this man, let’s look deeper into his response.
When you analyze old testament scripture, we understand that the Jewish people were given many laws to live by. In fact, today, Orthodox Jews follow the law and the related religious practices to a “T”. With that in mind, the young man says, “I just got married, so I can’t come.” In fact, according to Jewish law, when a young man was married, he was given a year of sabbatical from military service. Deuteronomy 24:5, NIV says: “If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.” Okay, hang onto your seat a minute…this use of the scripture or reference to it resembles the manipulative nature of the devil when he used the word to tempt Jesus in the wilderness. That may sting a bit, but this man has tossed out a “red herring,” a distraction…an excuse.
Jesus is not calling us to forsake our families to serve him. He is setting a place for us for all eternity. Though I am not a marriage counselor, I will tell you that the strength of a marriage lies in husband and wife both pointing their hearts in love toward God first, providing the greatest bond of love for each other at the same time. Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38, NIV). Coming to the banquet seat of God is not about what you give up…it’s about receiving the most amazing gift of eternal life that you will experience forever!
What do you hold dear to you in this life? Are there things or relationships you cling to more than Jesus Christ? Are you storing up treasures in this life or in the next? When you see throngs of people in third world countries come in large numbers to crusades and give their hearts to Jesus, they are coming to him, holding nothing back. When we come to God, are we thinking about a television program we might be missing? When we tithe, are pondering missing an opportunity to acquire a new boat or car? Do you have a hold of the things of this world…or do the things of this world have a hold of you? Matthew 5:30, NIV gives perspective to Jesus’ concern for the world clutching us in its grasp: “And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” Is there anything keeping you back from living all-out for God? What makes you reluctant to attend the Lord’s banquet today?
Dear Lord, let my heart, my mind, my spirit and my body all be yours today. Let me always live a life of surrender to you. Help me to walk in humility and don’t let anything come between me and your invitation to attend the Great Banquet--the greatest event for all eternity!