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Come for all things are now ready”  Luke 14:16

“I have bought a piece of ground and I must go and see it…….I have bought five oxen and I am going to test them…..I have married and therefore I can not come”  Luke 14:18-20

“For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper”  Luke 14:24

There has been much work done in preparation.  Food is gathered and prepared, dining utensils and place settings are all arranged, the banquet hall is decorated that dining tables decorated, and the Master of the hall then sends his invitation.  At first He sends the invitations out to those whom he feels are close friends, those whom he loves and expects, love him in return.  The responses start to come in; please excuse me……sorry would love to but………wow, sorry, you’ve caught me at a really bad time, the Master is spurned.  What was it that He wanted?  Was this a potluck, where the guests would have to go out of their way to bring something?  Was this some flashy masquerade ball where they would have to get into some wild costume?  No.  He just wanted to share with them; share His time, His bounty, His good will.  Maybe some other time was their response.  They probably didn’t realize that there was to be no chance for an other time.

Obviously, our Heavenly Father is the Master of the Hall.  The table is set, all the provisions are ready; in this case there is even a guest of honor; His Son Jesus Christ, who is there.  In a very real sense; they would love to see us there.  If we are not careful, we are full of excuses.  I do not have time for you because I have my………fill in the blank; job, hobby, family, trip, this and that.  In essence we are replying, God, sorry, I just don’t have time for you right now.  I’ll get around to it.  Maybe when I know I’m dying, I’ll come to you.  Maybe, when my world is crashing down around me, I’ll decide to make the time for you.  Some will never make the time.

The invitation stands open for you and me.  It reads:  Come as you are.  BYOB:  Bring Your Own Body.  I will supply everything else.  What is on the agenda?  Love, fellowship, peace, joy, blessings.  It is amazing that I would ever find an excuse to turn down an invitation like that.  Oh but wait, I bet this is a fund raising kind of dinner.  I bet the price to get in is really steep!  Relax, our Guest of Honor says, I am Jesus Christ and I have already paid your fee in full.  May it be that we all hear the invitation this very day, and have the wisdom to accept it.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, as was said in the psalms, truly who are we that You would see fit to invite us into Your presence.  Yet through Your immeasurable mercy, You are calling for us today to come in to Your presence and dine with You.  The bounty that You have laid out for us, is beyond our imagination, Dear Father.  We humbly ask, Gracious Lord, that you give us the strength to overcome the enemy who strives to keep us from Your table.  Deliver us, Dear Father, from the worries and cares of this world that block us from coming to You.  We give thanks and praised that, through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our savior, You have seen fit to pay the price of admittance that we owe.  That we may, starting today, have eternal fellowship in Love with You we pray.  In the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen

“And a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house..”  Luke 10:39

“But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord do You not care that my sister…………tell her to help me” Luke 10:40

“Behold I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him and he with me.”  Revelation 3;20

Is it any wonder, that Christ was such an enigma to those of with whom He interacted with when He was physically on earth.  And if we are not so very careful, we will make the very same mistakes.

So let’s think a moment.  You invite someone into your home.  First why are they there and second what should you be doing with them there?  There are very many specific reasons that people are invited into homes, but it seems in general (besides sales people), the person who is invited, is one whom we desire to be there and it is special that they are there.  Thus, because it is a special occasion, we often feel compelled to, in various levels, serve them.  We want them to feel important.  Which is exactly where Martha finds herself and I would also say that it would be natural for us to respond the same.  If we feel that someone is worthy of an invite into our homes (please don’t take that phraseology as some sort of snootiness), we feel that it is our duty to serve them.  There should be something to eat, something to drink, it should be comfortable for them and it us up to a good host, to provide that.

Now here’s the amazing contradiction of Christ.  When he entered Martha’s house, instead of waiting around to be served or asking for food and drink, he started serving.  It says that Mary was listening to His word.  Jesus was preaching, giving of himself for the edification of the household he had entered.  He did not desire to receive, He wanted to give.  By his response to Mary, what was He looking for in a gracious host?  He was looking for people who were ready to receive His gift.  The gift of Himself, the Son of God.  But that didn’t figure into Martha’s perception as probably it would be difficult for us today.  And here again we run into a contradiction, should not a guest, to be polite, acquiesce to the host’s reasonable request of Him?  It was very reasonable, worldly, for Martha to ask Jesus to send Mary to help her (interesting that she didn’t go to Mary, but such can be the relationship of siblings).  And Jesus tells her no.  He is not angry with her but attempts to teach her a great truth.  We do not know if she received it.

Here is one the greatest wonders and worldly contradictions to start with.  Jesus was only in Martha’s and Mary’s home, because He was invited.  Here is the Very Son of God, Creator of the World, more powerful than all the earthly kingdoms put together, and He wants, no he desperately desires (He died to prove that point!) to come in.  Could He barge in?  Is there any door strong enough to keep Him out if He was determined to come in?  Have no mistaken of impressions about our power to resist or thwart Christ if it was His way to impose His Will.  Yet Our Heavenly Father’s and Jesus Christ’s inscrutable plan is not to force us to believe and have faith but wait on us to invite Them in.

Now comes the second enigma.  When Christ is invited in, He comes to give, to serve, to heal, to teach.  Our response is of course to want to serve as well, to worship Him to Love Him, but it is because of how He deals with us first.  But once in, He does not want to be a one among many.  Jesus does not want to be someone we will get around to, once we have taken care of our other things and then can fit him in.  No, Jesus Christ says, if You are going to invite me in, I should now be the focus.  So don’t invite Me in on a whim.  Christ tells us to expect that His gifts are going to change us.  Sometimes though, we think of our time with him in earthly terms.  That is, come on in, have a seat and I’ll get around to you when I can.  I’ll share my time with you amongst the other things I need to get done and I’ll try to listen to you; really I will, if you can talk over the TV or computer.  That kind of relationship does not work for Jesus Christ or our Heavenly Father for that matter.  Once we have extended the invitation (which is really a reflection of their initial invitation to light and life), then the want and expect our undivided attention; if we are to be the type of host that they want.

So we must understand, that Jesus Christ is going to be unlike any other guest we have ever invited into our home and into our lives.  He died to give us a chance to invite Him in and will always accept our invitation.  Once in, it is not about what we give or do for Him, it is about what He wants to give to us.  He wants nothing less than to give to us a way into the Kingdom of His/Our Heavenly Father.  To show us what true Love, Peace, Joy and Happiness are all about.  That we want to serve Him in return is not a prerequisite, but a natural response to the service we have received in and through Him.  May we find ourselves like Mary, chosing the one better thing, to sit and be still at Jesus Christ’s feet, listening to what He has to teach us.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, we humbly confess our need for you as we are totally incapable of making it in this world on our own.  Give us the spirit to invite Your Son Jesus Christ into our lives to become Our Savior.  We know that He will certainly answer our invitation.  Then please give us the spirit of strength to disregard all else and concentrate solely and souly on Jesus Christ.  That by following Him we will come to You.  In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.

Amen

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