I’m backtracking a little with this parable and reading the 7 verses before it. I think it sets the stage nicely for the parable that Jesus told. It gives us the context of the scene and why Jesus would have told the parable. Looking at verses 7 - 14, Jesus notices that people were putting themselves in places of honor at a feast. He warned them against pride and placing themselves in a place of honor because someone else may be honored more and they will be humiliated. Jesus then explains the danger of inviting people to a banquet you know will repay you, instead invite people who cannot repay. He tells them they will be blessed.
After Jesus gives these wonderful nuggets of wisdom, a man blurts out, “Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God,” (verse 15). I can only imagine how exasperated Jesus may have felt, because I have been there with my children. I give them good motherly advice, and then they just blurt out something that shows they were not listening to the point! Jesus then told the parable of the man who was giving a great banquet and invited many people. When the feast was ready, the people began to make excuses why they should not come. Jesus then told of the man’s reaction and ordered his servants to invite whomever they saw; the poor, the crippled, and the blind. He ended the parable with, “I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.”
Let’s look back on the context of the parable. Jesus was sending a very strong message. We know, as did the Jews at the time, that God is preparing a banquet. The Jews looked forward to being at God’s banquet table and they were most definitely invited. The problem came when the Jews began to look at other things more important than their faith walk with God. Spending time with God became less important than the work it took to follow the law. They became too busy following the law to enjoy a relationship with God. They took great pride in who followed the law the best and who could claim to be flawless. The people who were willing to accept that they were flawed were the ones who found the time to seek Jesus. They were the ones that were not too busy to come to the feast.
Thinking of today, what do we do to send a message to God that we are too busy for Him? We each have our own things that keep us from enjoying God’s presence in our lives. It could be working and raising a family. It could even be very noble things such as serving and volunteering at church or at para-church organizations. There is nothing wrong with volunteering; it just becomes a problem when we get so wrapped up in the work that we don’t spend time with God. Maybe we even take pride in the work we do and look down on those that don’t spend as much time volunteering. God wants our service to Him to be an extension of our relationship with Him; He doesn’t want our relationship based only on service.
Where have you become too busy for God in your life?