More Room at the Table
He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
When one of those who reclined at table with him 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.’”
- Luke 14:12 – 23
Today we are going to prepare to celebrate Jesus’ second coming by remembering that Jesus is an expansive Savior. His arms are open to all kinds of people. At the wedding feast of the Lamb there will be people from every tribe, nation, background, and race. There will be prodigals and prostitutes. Saints and sinners. People we like and people we are convinced won’t be there.
Honestly, this makes me a bit uncomfortable. Often, I am thrilled that people who struggle like I do get an invitation to Jesus’ great party. But Jesus sets a bigger table. His arms are open to all people. All people are invited to place their faith in him, and when they do, he pulls up a seat for them.
A faith that honors Jesus’ second coming is a ‘wide-angled’ faith. It is a faith that embraces all those whom Jesus in his grace has embraced. Such faith refuses to make sameness a default for friendship. It seeks out everyone whom Jesus himself has sought and it says, “There is room at the table for you.”
A Moment to Reflect
It may seem like a small thing. But today as an act of celebration, thank God for the massive diversity in the church. Thank Jesus for being an expansive Savior. Thank Jesus for having arms that are open wide. Thank Jesus for loving people who are like you and for loving people who aren’t like you. Thank him for your friends and your enemies. Thank him for the poor, the crippled, the blind and lame. Thank him for your rivals. Thank him for the people at Faith that you don’t like. In short, thank Jesus for being a God who sets many seats at his table and who quickly pulls up chairs for the newcomer. And maybe, just maybe as an act of Advent faith, make a plan to reach out to someone during this season who isn’t like you and include them at your table.