“A certain man made a great supper; and he bade many; and he sent forth his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready” (Luke 14:16-17, ASV).
In other words, a man issued an invitation to his great banquet, much the same as the Lord invites you and me to come to His incredible feast of life and strength. Vision, direction, provision, and a future can be found there. Everything is ready.
However, those who were invited to the banquet began to present their excuses as to why they could not come. No doubt, some people simply did not want to go. Yet, I cannot help but feel that some among them felt obliged to bring something to the banquet. Perhaps they were embarrassed at their own lack of resources, which ultimately led them to decline the invitation.
This is the same dilemma that you and I face today. God says, “I want to do something through your life.” It is an incredible invitation from the Lord. Yet, for many people, there is an innate sense that they should be providing something. After all, it is common practice even in our society today that the gift one brings to a wedding should be of equal value to the meal that is being set before them.
Of course, knowing that the price of the banquet was the blood of His Son Jesus Christ, it is preposterous to think that you and I could ever bring something comparable to that price, even if we somehow felt obliged. It tends to take us a long time to get to the point of realizing that this is a “come as you are” banquet. The prophet Isaiah said, “Come, those who have no money; come, those who have no skill; come, those who have no ability. Come and buy and be satisfied! Eat that which will truly fill and satisfy you” (see Isaiah 55:1-2).
Jesus continued in Luke 14:33. “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” That does not mean you have to give away your house, empty your bank account, and quit your job. Jesus was essentially saying that you must give away your own thoughts of ever doing this in your own strength. The forces against the testimony of Christ in this generation are too powerful. The social trends are going in the opposite direction of the Word of God. The battle is too strong, and our natural resources are insufficient to meet the need. That is why we must choose to cast away all the self-reliance and show up, just as we are, to an incredible banquet of God.
Carter Conlon joined the pastoral staff of Times Square Church in 1994 at the invitation of the founding pastor, David Wilkerson, and was appointed Senior Pastor in 2001. A strong, compassionate leader, he is a frequent speaker at the Expect Church Leadership Conferences conducted by World Challenge throughout the world.