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“I’m too busy”

When one of those who reclined at table with him [Jesus of Nazareth c. AD 30] heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. Because I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’ ” Luke 14: 15-24
 
Sometimes at formal dinners one meets a super dinner companion. For a couple of hours one greatly appreciates the insight of this dinner guest into matters about which people seldom speak….

Jesus had a thoughtful dinner companion when he was invited one Sabbath (like our Sunday) to “eat bread” in a Pharisee’s house.  On this religious day, at the home of a highly religious man, maybe Jesus was not expecting LOL. 

And sure enough, the thoughtful man by Jesus’ side, having heard Jesus give some opening thoughts both to guests and to host, remarked, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!”
 
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‘Beware of the urgent crowding out the important.’ (Anon.)
He was thinking about things beyond this life. He realized that there was something beyond this religious dinner party. He wanted to speak about it.

There is something inevitable about human life. It ends. Back around AD 30, a man, who healed all, had power over wind and waves and whose teaching was sublimely altruistic, was put to death. The religious, political and military authorities in Jerusalem who did this were unsuccessful. He rose again. 

But no one wishes to speak about him or to look into his message. Yes, life ends. Don’t speak about it. Don’t look into resurrection.

In the extract in bold above from Luke’s biography of Jesus, Jesus placed before those Sunday guests a parallel which applied both to those guests and to us all. “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses.” The first invitations were put on the mantelpiece. Then, on the day, Luxicabs called to bring them to the banquet…..

Sitting next to someone at a meal today I wonder what answer they would give if you asked them, “Why don’t you look into this possible solution to the awful but inevitable end of your life? Don’t you want to eat bread in the kingdom of God?” Put the invite on the mantelpiece.

There were three answers to Luxicabs. (1) ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ (2) ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ (3) ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ (1) had bought a field without seeing it (?). (2) had bought oxen for farm work but hadn’t tried them out beforehand (?). (3) couldn’t do anything other than get more from his new wife (?).

Assets. Working life. Family, social and love life. These were more important in Jesus’ day - and today in Jersey. Very strangely, more important than life.


 
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 ‘Of what use is it of having many irons in the fire if the fire is going out?’ (Eric Roberts)
Jesus continued the parallel. 'Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ But there were still vacancies. The master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.' Compel? 

Why compel? ‘Because I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’ The master’s wish was that no room must be left for those who mantle-pieced the invitation.

 
Richard Syvret

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