Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’
“But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’
“Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’
“Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
“The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’
“‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’
“Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’ ”
Receiving an invitation to join someone for dinner or a special occasion is a gift. When we’re invited, we feel seen, loved, and wanted. But so often, we forget what it’s like to be invited and we allow our busyness and fear of rejection to prevent us from inviting others. We don’t go out of our way—out to the roads and country lanes, as the master in Jesus’ story instructed—to invite. That would knock us out of our routine and add an agenda item to an already full schedule. Plus, we might be embarrassed if the person we invite says no. Jesus calls us to make the invitation anyway. After all, the person you invite might say yes. Look what happened when someone invited you!
- Read this passage again and this time notice what words, phrases, or images stand out to you. Sit quietly and ask God to show you how those words, phrases, or images apply to your life right now. What did God reveal to you?
- Reflect on a time you were out of your routine and your path crossed with someone you wouldn’t normally encounter. What happened? How did you experience God?
- What “roads and country lanes” do you sense God calling you to travel in order to expand the invitation to those standing alone, those who feel like outsiders, or those who feel unseen?
God, open my eyes to the places you are calling me to go to share your invitation. Open my ears to hear where you are guiding me and sending me and then fill me with the fortitude and courage to share my story and all you have done in my life. Let me not get so caught up in my own life, schedule, and preferences that I miss extending even a single invitation. Amen.