What's Your Excuse?
How do you deal with rude people? Someone once put that question to Miss Manners, a social etiquette advice columnist found in many newspapers. Here’s her response: With an icy stare or weak smile. Facile expressions are wonderful ways of politely conveying that you cannot believe that this person has just behaved a certain way. I do not recommend the snappy comeback and put-down. I refuse to traffic in that.
This week we resume our sermon series, Guard Your Heart. The sermon this Sunday is from Luke 14:15-24, the Parable of the Large Banquet, also known as the Parable of the Wedding Feast. It’s the story Jesus tells about people who were invited to a great feast, but responded with excuses that were rude and half-hearted. Why would anyone accept an invitation to come to a great feast, come to the host’s home, and then when it came time to sit down at the table, come up with a lame excuse and get out in a hurry?
In this parable, Jesus wants us to see something…something that we all need to guard our hearts from—half-heartedness. Author Wilbur Rees describes half-heartedness this way:
"I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please, not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine. I don't want enough of him to make me love a [person of a different color] or pick beets with a migrant worker. I want ecstasy, not transformation; I want the warmth of a womb, not a new birth. I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy just $3 worth of God, please."
Do you get what Rees is saying in this poem? He’s stating what so many contemporary Christians are saying: “I want to be happy, not Christ-like. I want ecstasy, not transformation. I want to give some of my heart to Jesus, but not all of it.”
For many, $3.00 worth of God is all they want. When they are called to the table, they come up with some lame excuses for not coming. But there are those who want all of God. I think the psalmist said it best when he wrote, “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:2). That’s a far cry from being satisfied with a measly three dollars’ worth of him.
Jesus extends his invitation to everyone. “Supper’s ready! Come to the table!” Will you come and enjoy the feast, or will you come up with some excuse for why you can’t participate?