Thursday, October 1, 2009

Don't Be Tardy for the Party

Luke 14:18
But they all with one accord began to make excuses.
"Excuses are tools of the incompetent, and those who specialize in them seldom go far."

Excuses are tools of the incompetent used to build monuments to nothing. For those who specialize in them shall never be good at anything else."

An excuse is worse than a lie, for an excuse is a lie, guarded. Alexander Pope

On a recent episode of Atlanta Housewives, Lisa threw a fashion show party to display her new clothing line. She invited Sheree to come but for some reason she came late to the party. One of the designers stopped her in the parking lot and asked her why she was late? She said, “I had to go to my son’s recital.” He called her on it and asked incredulously, “Now come on Sheree, you know you came late on purpose?” She got visibly irritated and said, “{Psssst!} please don’t go there with me.” I thought it was bold but needed for the man to bust her out for that excuse. This is your friend’s party, why can’t you come and celebrate her like she celebrated you? Don’t be tardy for the party.

I recently threw my wife a surprise birthday party which I planned a whole year in advance. What a challenge!

1) To keep it a secret from my inquisitive wife
2) to get friends and relatives to come to Memphis for the party.

In my mind, I thought with advance notice it would be easy to get loved ones to come in and celebrate with someone who had meant so much to them in their own lives. The majority of the people I invited came, she had a wonderful time and I’m grateful for the turn out, but what surprised me, what was interesting, were the excuses of some of the people that didn’t come. The feast is prepared, I’m paying for the venue, it’s for somebody you love, all you have to do is show up but there were so many excuses.

If I was let down by the few, I can only imagine how God feels being let down by so many. Every week God throws a party in honor of Jesus, a rehearsal dinner, if you will, to get ready for the big party when Jesus returns for his Bride (the church). The rehearsal dinner is every Sunday in a local church but when the invitation is given there are so many loved ones who have benefited from the life of Jesus who refuse to come. Now these are not strangers or unchurched people I’m talking about. I’m talking about people who already know Jesus. People that don’t know Jesus understandably have some reservations about coming to a party for a person they don’t know but for those of us who know him it is surprisingly hurtful that you show up late or not at all when the party is for Jesus and you have excuses as to why you are not coming.

I got to work, my spouse don’t like church, it’s too early, they keep too long, too many hypocrites, too loud, too many young people, too many old people, it’s too far…and God is saying but I prepared a banquet table for you in my house. Jesus paid the price for your salivation by being crucified on the cross, can’t you show up for an hour and a half. He hung for you form the Sixth to the Ninth hour?

But they all together on once accord began to make excuses:

1. I just bought some land. Land represents our homes and real estate. One of the first things we jeopardize when we avoid God’s invitation for kingdom is our home. When we are in proper spiritual alignment with Jesus, there is a covering over our homes but when we choose our home over Jesus, we put our homes at risk.

2. I just bought some oxen. I need to test them out. Oxen can represent cars we’d rather test out on Sunday by driving anywhere but to God’s house. Maybe the reason we aren’t going anywhere is because we aren’t driving towards God.

3. I just got married. Many of us put our relationships before God. Jesus said, unless you hate your mother, father, wife, children, brothers and sisters and even his own life cannot be my disciple. Jesus didn’t literally mean “Hate” he meant prioritizing God before all other relationships. Our marriage can’t last if we don’t put God first.

This invitation was for people who already know God and have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. When they turned God down, God sent His disciples out to the streets, the hedges and highways to invite in people who don’t know Jesus, the lame, the blind, the poor so they could come in and take your place. It is our job to get people into the Party. Sunday’s are just rehearsals for the big dinner. If you have not RSVP'd by the time of the Party, you will not get in. Don’t be Tardy for the Party! What will be your excuse when Jesus catches you in the parking lot?

Dear God, thank you for inviting me! I can’t believe you want me at the party! I will be there on time and I can’t wait to see Jesus and tell him thank you for all that he’s meant in my life. If it’s alright I’d like to bring a friend with me this weekend because I want them to share in the celebration. Thank you again Jesus for hanging in there for me, you didn’t have to but I’m so glad you did. I will not be tardy for the party!


No comments:

Post a Comment