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The Parable of the Great Supper

(Luke 14:15-24)

Lesson 5 -- second quarter 1996
March 31, 1996

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1996, Christian Light Publications

Why do people refuse a good thing?
What keeps you from spiritual input?
Compel them?!

We have all had to deal with miscellaneous types of offers: jobs, services, assignments, people, things. Some of the these offers were good; others were merely portrayed that way. Some we accepted; the rest we refused. Why turn away from anything good?

I don't need it right now. I called a computer software outfit to cancel my trial subscription. The representative couldn't understand why I would cut myself off from something I readily acknowledged as desirable, useful and worth the price. I don't know if I got her to understand that I try to buy on the basis of need. This reason presumes that when the need exists, I will be able to tap into this source once again.

I don't think this is important enough. The high school biology/health teacher came to my office to offer me the opportunity to teach a class or two. Related to dating, romance and emotions! Normally I would have accepted with great delight. I passed up the invitation because accepting would have meant neglecting other assignments and responsibilities that were already suffering. This reason is relative because it doesn't deny the importance of the good thing; it just says, "In the big picture, the cost of saying 'yes' does not justify saying 'yes.'"

I have greater interests. Last week I got my first e-mail church assignment! The superintendent asked me to teach the young men's Sunday School class. I enjoy that class (even though modesty and conflict-of-interest constrain me to avoid certain pages of the lesson text!). He knows I enjoy teaching and he knows he can count on me, so I think my e-mail answer shocked Steve: "Move on to the next person on your list." He understood my explanation regarding family interests. This reason basically says, "This good thing may be great, fascinating and attractive, but not enough so. I have something I consider better."

The Lord has bidden us to "a great supper." Though this lesson is in the context of salvation and eternal life, I want to consider a slightly different angle--the nourishment of spiritual input. Do any of the reasons above cause you to refuse, reject or even despise His offer?

What is your attitude toward prayer meeting, Sunday School, preaching, Sunday evening service? What about revival meetings, winter Bible school, evangelistic meetings, Bible conference? Or family devotions, personal devotions, school devotions? Or Bible reading, missionary biographies, devotional books? How readily do you forgo these things?

I have a simple point to make: Excuse your participation in spiritual nourishment, and you will miss the marriage supper of the Lamb.

Why should anybody be forced into the Kingdom against their wishes? I don't believe that is what Jesus meant by "compel them to come in." I believe the impact of His statement is, "Draw them in. Entice them in. By your enjoyment of what you have, provoke in them a desire to come in. Like a magnet compels a nail, like a fresh-baked cookie compels a hungry person--COMPEL THEM TO COME IN!"

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