Have you ever been invited to a party and when you showed up you felt there wasn’t room for you? It could be the party was such a popular invitation that everyone showed up and there literally wasn’t enough room for you to feel comfortable. But, that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the kind of feeling you get when you feel you don’t belong in a certain place with a certain people.
The problem with that kind of thinking is that it fails to recognize in the kingdom of God there are no “certain” kinds of people; everyone is equal in God’s economy. In the gospel this week (Luke 14), Jesus told a story of a great party thrown by a man of obvious wealth. The man invited the people he knew the best, his friends. Well, at least he thought they were his friends. But, one by one they all turned down the invitation.
Right now you may be thinking, “I wish I would have gotten that invitation. No one ever invites me to great parties. I sure wouldn’t turn that one down.” The man was so angered by the snub of the refusals He opened the party up to everyone, even the people right off the street. You would think he’d know better. No one can throw a party that welcomes everyone, from every place, race, and status; there wouldn’t be enough room for them to all get along; they’re so different.
The truth is, there really is a party that big, and a place big enough to hold it. And what’s more, you and I have already been invited. The party Jesus spoke of is His, the place is His kingdom, and literally everyone is invited. The question for us today is, are we part of the group who turned Him down, or have we accepted His invitation.
Sociologist and Christian writer, Tony Campolo wrote a book titled, The Kingdom of God Is A Party. In the book, Tony tells how God’s plan has always been to bring joy and peace to our lives. Life is supposed to be fun! Sure life can offer us some pretty hard times, but that’s not God’s fault; it’s because we’ve let our own selfish desires crowd out the love we’re supposed to have for one another.
As you begin this third week of Advent, take a look at your life. How joyful is it? The third candle of Advent is the Candle of Joy. Sadly, the holiday season is one of the loneliest times for many people. Don’t let yourself be one of them. Do you have any party invitations? I hope so, but even if you don’t seem to have any holiday party invites on the calendar right now, let me remind you you have the greatest party invitation of all waiting for you to accept it – the party of the Kingdom. If you haven’t accepted it yet, there’s still time, and yes, there’s room for you (Vs. 22). So, light the Candle of Joy and come on in. The kingdom of God really is a party, and there’s always room for one more.
Grace & Peace,
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”