Jesus once told a story about a man who decided to give a big dinner. He made out his guest list, presumably filled with friends and acquaintances, but they all made excuses about why they couldn’t come. One was newly married, one had just bought some oxen and another needed to go see about a new piece of property.
The people weren’t doing bad things, but they weren’t prioritizing the relationship. They figured it would be there later and they felt no sense of desperation.
Full people rarely do.
I don’t get the idea that this was just a casual cookout. I imagine it was more like a banquet. A rare occurrence that one might feel honored to attend. But nobody was moved at all.
“…the head of the household became angry and said to his slave, ‘Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ And the slave said, ‘Master, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled.” (Luke 14:21-23)
When the man invited the poor, the crippled, the rejects from the streets and in the outskirts of town, there was no hesitation. Invitations like that don’t come along, well…ever. When you’re empty and hungry and thirsty and lonely, you jump at the chance to enjoy the company of others around the table and have your deepest needs satisfied.
Especially when all the other guests are broken, too. No judgment, no stares, no insecurity about manners – or lack thereof – because every single person knows he or she is just blessed to be there.
I love this story, which reveals something about the heart of God: He came for broken people. He came for the sick, because those who are well have no need of a physician. The truth is that we are all sick, but some of us are so full, so busy and so good at being good that we don’t know it.
I struggle with a lot of “noise,” in my mind. There are questions, concerns, insecurities and other things that pop up at various times. There are issues in my world that seem like they will never be resolved. I often wonder what on earth it’s all about and when it will all go away. When will all the noise stop? I know I’m not alone.
Pondering this story I can see that there is a gift in it all. Truth be told I have come a long way, but where would I be if I wasn’t thirsty, hungry and a little jacked up? Would I be so full that I’d reject the invitation of a lifetime? I don’t know, but I trust that He is using it all.
As it is now, my hunger keeps me coming back for His word and my thirst ensures that I keep going to the well that never runs dry. I pull up to the table with the rest of His beautiful messes, knowing that one day we’ll just be beautiful.
For that I am thankful.