Plot Twist: Week 8 - Day 5

Opening Prayer: 

Father, I want to thank you for the provision you made for my eternal life through your son Jesus. Activate your words in me and through me as a conduit to others who do not know you, so that they may also know that they, too, are extended the same hope that I am through Jesus Christ our Lord.  

 

Read: Luke 14:23, NIV

23 “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.’”

 

Reflect:   

The parable today highlights that God does not show favoritism. As the master serving the greatest banquet of all times, now through verse 23…no one is left off his invitation list. This was much different than most great banquets, including those put on today. Those who host such great events want the most esteemed dignitaries to attend, which draws more attention to themselves. Getting invited to such glamorous events is often a function of position, wealth or achievement. The event itself becomes more of a competition of who can bring in the most prestigious people. When invitations go out to those honored guests, it is most likely because of their position, for the express purpose of making the host look good.

Jesus was sent into this world to seek and to save the lost, with no exceptions. Ephesians 2:8-9, NIV, reminds us we did nothing to earn this gift Christ offers us, “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works so that no one can boast.” As believers, we might dismiss the earnestness of this passage of scripture and declare, ‘I treat everyone the same as God does, I am no respecter of persons.’ Now look a level deeper. How do you regard associating with movie stars and athletes? Do you seek to be around certain people because of their wealth or influence? Do you shun or ignore some because it doesn’t help you get further in your career? Do you tend to gravitate toward the popular groups at parties and get- togethers? Look at those you associate with and then ask yourself, “am I an invitation to ‘everyone’ that God’s kingdom and banquet is for them?” Now it may be true that social hierarchy was more of a factor in the days of Christ’s earthly ministry, but it is still very much a factor today. We may not consciously think to exclude anyone, but do we? Perhaps unintentionally?

Who would be the first people you would extend an invitation to a party at your own home? Why would you pick them first? What about those who might not get an invitation. Sure, you might be limited by space, but consider those who would not get an invitation. Why wouldn’t they?

 

Apply: 

Challenge yourselves today to look for people you have consciously, or unconsciously, neglected or left out of your circles. Did you know that loneliness is more prevalent today than every before? Who might you be overlooking that needs to be reached out to? Why have you left them out? Perhaps it is because we have become so focused on gaining notoriety, stature and popularity for ourselves, that we miss seeing those people who are stragglers that God sees. How big can you open your heart? How wide, how long, how deep is the love of Christ in your life?

 

Closing Prayer: 

Dear Jesus, you came as the light for the whole world. May that same light radiate through me so that each person I encounter will know your love and acceptance through me. In a time when the world is filled with hate, may my cup be overflowing with love from you for a lost and dying world. You came from heaven to earth to save and redeem us all. Amen.

Terry Schneider