The invitations had been sent. The meal was prepared. The time was right. The servants were “at the ready”. But nobody—I do mean NOBODY—had arrived. The host who had sent the invitations was dumbfounded! Where was everyone?
The first excuse given was from a man that had just bought a field—sight unseen. Really? What if it was unplantable? The next man’s excuse was that he had bought oxen and had not tried them out. What if they were not useable? The third man’s excuse was a little more plausible—he had just gotten married. And weddings back in the day sometimes lasted a week and they were exhausting!
This parable compares to the teachings Jesus did in Luke chapter 9. A man said he would follow Jesus EVERYWHERE. But Jesus told him that he was not ever sure of where they would sleep or what they would eat. This scared the young man away. Jesus invited another man to follow him, but the man wanted to bury his father first. Experts agree that his father wasn’t dead—or even sick. An yet another man said he would follow Jesus, but had to say goodbye to his family first.
Waiting on hold
Do you like to be “on hold” when calling customer service or placing a take-out order? Do you tell a family member with an urgent request to “call me back later—I’m busy right now?” And yet, we have no problem saying that to God! Are we ever really ready for whatever the task happens to be? Is the new Sunday School teacher an expert on the Bible? Is the author ever satisfied that the book is “just right”? Is the cook ever completely satisfied with the new recipe? Are we ever totally convinced we have said it all…done it all?
In the Old Testament, God’s portion always came right off the top. He got the first fruits, the first born of the flocks, the best ten percent of a harvest. Today, we are more afraid to give God the top pick of anything because there might not be enough left over. So, we put God on hold while we do what we think is more important. And then we hope that God will understand.
When tempted to push the HOLD button on God’s call, think about Paul Dunbar’s poem
The Lord He Had a Job For Me
The Lord He had a job for me, but I had so much to do— I said, “You get somebody else…or wait ‘til I get through.” I don’t know how the Lord came out, but He seemed to get along; But I felt kinda sneakin’ like—cause I know’d I done Him wrong. One day I needed to Lord myself—needed Him right away And He never answered me at all, but I could hear Him say… Down in my accusin’ heart--”(Man), I’se got too much to do— You get somebody else or wait ‘til I get through.” Now when the Lord has a job for me, I never tries to shirk— I drops what I has on hand and does the good Lord’s work… And my affairs can run along, or wait ‘til I get through— ‘Cause nobody else can do the job the Lord’s marked out for you.
The next time God calls YOU to do something…say something…be something—before you press the HOLD button, ask yourself these questions.
If not I…Who?
If not here…Where?
If not now…When?
The table is set. The meal is ready. The King is waiting.