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About-Him.Com Devotional 03-24-2012
Filling the House
Text: Luke 14:21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.
22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.
23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
We read in Luke 14: 7-11 that Jesus was attending a supper given by one of the chief Pharisees. Jesus took note of how the invited guests were scrambling for the best seats. I’m sure they were all dressed in new duds and were certain that they would be noticed as they seated themselves at a place of honor. Well they were, they were told to move. What an embarrassment!
Jesus continued in Luke 14:12-14 with instructions of how we should host a supper. We should forget about calling our friends and family and our rich neighbors; those who will reciprocate the invitation in order to pay us back. While doing so, it’s quite likely that they might just happen to set better china and silverware and better table arrangements, just to keep the upper hand.
Jesus said that when we give a supper, we should call the poor, the maimed, the lame and the blind. They won’t be able to repay us, but we will receive a reward at the resurrection.
One fellow who heard Jesus got excited and cried out, “Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God (Lu 14:15).” This man understood what Jesus was talking about. He was talking about the kingdom of God. He wasn’t saying that you can’t have the preacher over for dinner or that you have to totally ignore your family. He was saying that promoting and building the kingdom of God is the most important task that we will ever have. The kingdom is just a bit bigger than our friends and family and the important people we happen to know. The kingdom is open to all of God’s creatures. It’s not our job to decide who are or are not worthy candidates for the kingdom. It’s our job to invite, the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind and the rankest sinner we can think of. After all, someone invited us.
Jesus replied to the man with a story of how a man gave a great supper and invited many. They all began to make excuses. One guy had to go and examine the land he had just bought and another had to prove his oxen. Another had to stay home with his new wife. These were the excuses they gave but perhaps this is what they were thinking. “Well, you know, I’m getting tired of going to his suppers, he always serves the same thing.” or “I’ve got another invitation where they have better entertainment, etc.” Sounds like church, doesn’t it?
The man who gave the feast got angry. Yes, Jesus gets angry. If you doubt it, just read His letters to the seven churches of Asia (Re. 1:11- 3:22). He commanded that the servants scour the streets and lanes of the city and to bring in the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. The servant returned and reported that they had done as they were instructed and yet the house was not full.
The invitation had been given and as many of the man’s family and friends who would, were seated at the table. Next came the feeble and helpless and still there was room. There was only one thing left to do.
Text: Luke 14:23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
It’s obvious from the context of the text that Jesus is talking about the Kingdom of God. The house is not full. There are still seats available. As the song says, “Though millions have come, there’s still room for one, there’s room at the cross for you.”
Our local assembles are a reflection of the Kingdom of God as a whole. The kingdom is not full, nor are our churches. Jesus told us to lift up our eyes and see the fields of people ready to be harvested (Jn. 4:35). When we lose our desire to add souls to the kingdom, we become like families who have become inbred. A little bit odd to say the least.
The servants swept the streets and lanes of the city, but still the house was not full. They were then instructed to go to the highways and byways and to compel folks to come to the feast. How do we compel men to come to the Kingdom of God. In my city the very large churches have an endless list of celebrities, promoting the gospel. That’s pretty hard to compete with. Some promote their music to the point that you feel like you’re at a concert, rather than a participant in worship. These things, no doubt attract people but when the promotions stop or grow tiresome, folks look for a new church, which as the late comedian Flip Wilson said was, “The church of what’s happening.” I don’t think this is what Jesus had in mind.
You’ve no doubt read of men like George Whitefield and John and Charles Wesley who fathered the Great Awakening of 1730-40 which stirred Britain and the American colonies to the core. These men preached repentance and holiness with such fervor that their meetings could not be contained to an auditorium. They preached to thousands of eager listeners in open fields. They disagreed on doctrine and politics, but their message was the same, i.e. Christ and Him crucified.
There were other awakenings which led up to The Pentecostal outpourings of the early 20th century. Here again, simple people with a thirst for the presence and power of God were immersed with God’s Holy Spirit. They weren’t welcome in most churches, so they worshipped in fields and brush arbors. They didn’t have a sound system, but they made themselves heard. They didn’t have an advertising budget, but God did His own advertising. They didn’t have any celebrities, but their numbers increased just the same. The one thing that they did have was people with an intense love of God with a burning desire to see the Kingdom of God expanded.
There are some forgotten and neglected areas of ministry which may not fill seats in our churches but are important to the growth of the kingdom. Ever tried jail ministry? You’d be surprised how blessed you will feel when you offer words of hope to an inmate facing years of prison. You only see them for a short time, but the seed of the word of God is planted. You plant the seed, someone else will water and God will give the increase. We’ll know the results in heaven.
How about nursing homes and assisted living facilities? Or rescue missions? That’s really getting out to the highways and byways. How about reaching out to those struggling with addictions and to the misfits of society? Come to think of it, that’s who Jesus specialized in. Remember He left the ninety nine righteous saints to go out and search for the one lost sheep. We can all identify with that.
The harvest is ripe and there are still seats available in the kingdom of God and in our local churches.
Isaiah 6:8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't anywhere. - Author Unknown
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Last modified: 03-25-2012s
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