Then the master said to the slave, “Go out to the roads and lanes, and compel people to come in, so that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those who were invited will taste my dinner.”
Throwing a dinner party or open house reception these days is no small undertaking and it can be very costly! Printing and mailing invitations can be expensive even before a dollar has been spent on food, drinks and any small gift used as a favor for coming. It is so important to get as accurate a count of guests as is possible for the host pays for every person plus extras. For some time now it has become quite difficult to get guests to RSVP, so much so that some invitations requests “Regrets only.” That way if you plan to attend, you don’t even need to let the hosts know for they will count on you to be there.
I strive to respond promptly to invitations that I receive. I would estimate that 90-95% of the time I respond to “RSVP” s or “Regrets Only.” From conversations I have had with others related to weddings, parties, dinners, etc. there are many who do not respond. It is very disheartening to them.
Jesus tells a parable about someone who gave a great banquet and invited many. The host was happy so many accepted the invitation. Back then it was customary on the day of the event to send someone out to all the guests’ homes to let them know that the day had come and the meal was ready. The slave went from house-to-house only to discover that the guests had other pressing matters and would not attend the banquet. One had purchased a piece of property and he just had to inspect his property at the time of the banquet. He regretted he could not come. Another guest had bought five yoke of oxen and he had to try them out before the transaction was final. He regretted he could not come. Another guest announced he had just married and was on his honeymoon. He regretted he could not come.
The slave returned and reported to his master, who was very angry! He had spent a fortune for this grand banquet. The guests had accepted the invitation and he had hired a caterer and paid a non-refundable deposit. The tables were laden with food and there were no guests to enjoy it. The master sent his slave out into the streets and lanes to invite the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame. There was still room for more guests and so the master sent the slave out into roads and lanes to compel people to come, to fill his master’s house and to enjoy the banquet.
If there was still room for more dinner guests, there would be “No Room” for those who had been invited and who then declined. There would be “No Room” for those who did not appreciate enough the invitation and the banquet that had been prepared for them.
If there was seemingly no more room, the master would have said there is “Room for One More” We can squeeze in around the table and there will be plenty of food even if some is shared so that even these last guests, who were compelled to come in, may enjoy the feast. There would be “Room for One More” as those compelled to come in from the roads and lanes kept coming until the master’s house was full.
One person said to Jesus, “Blessed is anyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God.” Let us take seriously the invitation God extends to us … to be part of and to feast in His kingdom.
Loving God, we thank You for Your invitation to us. Accept our thanks for all of Your good gifts to us. Keep us mindful that we are blessed … as we look forward to eating bread in the Kingdom of God. In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen.