“Think on These Things” is a column by retired Creston pastor Ian Cotton
When Jewish families ate, many in Christ’s day repeated the words, “Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.” But Christ showed how difficult it was to find guests, for heaven provided at infinite cost. Those who listened knew that they had slighted the invitation of mercy. To them worldly possessions, riches, and pleasures were all-absorbing. With one consent, they made excuse. Luke 14:12-27.
So it is today. The reasons for declining cover every excuse for refusing the gospel invitation. Men declare that they cannot imperil their worldly prospects by giving attention to the claims of the gospel. Their temporal interests are of more value than the things of eternity.
Worldly pursuits take priority, and they say to the messenger of mercy, “Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.” Acts 24:25. Others urge the difficulties that would arise in their social relations should they obey the call of God. They say they cannot afford to be out of harmony with their family and friends. The master of the feast regards their excuses as contempt.
The husband says, “I cannot obey my convictions of duty while my wife is opposed to it.” The wife hears the gracious call, and she says, “‘Please excuse me.’ I must go with my husband,” The children desire to come. But they love their parents, and follow them.
All these refuse the saviour’s call because they fear division in the family circle. They suppose that in refusing to obey God, they are ensuring the peace and prosperity of the home; but this is a delusion. Those who sow selfishness will reap selfishness. In rejecting the love of Christ, they reject that which alone can impart purity and steadfastness to human love. They will not only lose heaven, but will fail of the true enjoyment here of that for which heaven was sacrificed.
In the parable, the giver of the feast learned how his invitation had been treated, and said to his servant, “Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor, the maimed, the lame and the blind.” Those who would appreciate His bounties.
“The publicans and the harlots,” Christ said, “go into the kingdom of God before you.” Matthew 21:31. However joyless the person, none are too low, too wretched, for the notice and love of God.
Christ longs to have the care-worn, the weary, the oppressed come to Him. He longs to give them the light and joy and peace that are to be found nowhere else. All sinners are the objects of His deep, earnest pity and love. He sends His Holy Spirit to draw them to Himself.
The servant who brought in the poor and the blind reported, “It is done and there is still room.” Jesus said, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and invite all.” Pointing to the work of the gospel going everywhere.
Adapted from Christ Object Lessons