Bulletin for 3-27-22
Birthdays and Anniversaries:
3-29 Luis Camacho
Darlyne Stewart, Karl’s sister, her cancer seems to be under control for the moment.
Shirley Weeks, Steve’s mom, is not well.
Sharon Best, Steven’s mom, still recovering from surgery.
Sarah, Chris Girvin’s sister, on hospice care
Eleuterio Oviedo recovering from knee replacement surgery
Doris Coley, regular listener, also recovering from knee surgery.
Robert and Sue Waller, health issues.
David Shaffer, being treated for leukemia.
Darla Nitti, Wendi’s mom, stage 4 kidney disease, stroke. New living situation!
Leta, has a recurring cancer, prayer request from her granddaughter via our website.
Tammy Jones, Weeks’ neighbor, kidney failure/dialysis
Condolences and Sympathy:
Kay Sweat, Wendi Camacho’s aunt, passed away. Please keep this family in your prayers!
If you have more prayer requests, just message or text Steve and we will update!
Reasons or excuses?
“But he said to him, ‘A man was giving a big dinner, and he invited many; and at the dinner hour he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for everything is ready now.’ But they all alike began to make excuses” (Luke 14:16-18a, NASB).
Jesus’ parable of the dinner to which no one wanted to come is well known to many of us. When the original guests were summoned, they asked to be excused based on sudden new circumstances. One needed to examine a new property; another wanted to try out teams of oxen; and the third one had just gotten married.
The host was offended and became very angry. He invited the common and poor people of the region to replace those who had treated his invitation with contempt. Jesus’ point is fairly obvious and its application to the Jewish leaders who were rejecting him is very appropriate. Other lessons may also be derived by considering the nature of the offered excuses and similar language in the Law of Moses.
In Moses’ review of the Law given on Mount Sinai to the people of Israel, he identifies those who should not be compelled to go to battle when Israel went to war (Deuteronomy 20:5-9). Those include:
- the man who has built a house but not yet dedicated it
- the man who has planted a vineyard and not yet harvested its grapes
- the man who is engaged but not yet married
- the man who is faint-hearted and afraid
There is much similarity between the excuses offered by the invited guests, and the reasons for allowing someone to avoid conscription to the army. Both lists include new endeavors and new relationships. But in the parable of Jesus these are unacceptable excuses. In the Law of Moses they were justifiable reasons. What made the difference?
One difference is in the kind of commitment required. A man going to war was asked to risk his life for an unknown, but probably extended period of time. If he had begun a substantial enterprise but not yet completed it nor reaped the benefit of his labors, he was excused until a later time when those things had been finished. In the case of the prospective dinner guests, they were committed only to a single meal, in which there was no danger or cost to them.
I believe that Jesus used the excuses he chose in part because of that very difference. By offering them the guests were indicating their opinion of the host and his dinner. It was not a privilege and pleasure in their opinion, but an onerous duty which they would prefer to avoid. No wonder the host was offended.
Does this attitude not surface today in many people’s reaction to religion? How often do we hear, “I know I should go to church, but …?” Religion is too frequently presented as duty and obligation, which offers little real benefit or pleasure, at least in this material life. Its rewards are delayed — what some have called “pie in the sky by and by” — and therefore less desirable than those pleasures we might enjoy right now.
Jesus rightly identified the Jewish leaderships rejection of Messianic prophecy and the Kingdom of God which it envisioned. They much preferred their own status and success within the system of their time. The invited guests of the parable were saying to their hosts, “leave us alone to do what we like; we are not interested in your dinner.” Jesus applied that same sentiments to his audience and their attitude toward God.
God’s reaction was the same as the parable’s host. “If you don’t want my dinner (or kingdom), I will offer it to those who do.” No matter how many in our day turn away from faith in God and refuse his Word, there will always be those who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, who will hear, believe, and obey God’s word and receive his blessings. Let us continue to search for them and invite them to the feast.
Michael Brooks, link to original article