Faith • Leadership • Life

Bringing People To The Table

iStock_000011595734Small

In the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke, Jesus was dining with a powerful group of Pharisees and teachers of the Law on the Sabbath when a very sick man showed up. Jesus healed the man, knowing He would be adding to the case the religious leaders were building to have Him executed. He then began teaching the men about the value of all people, and how they should treat others with more honor than themselves. I’m sure it was a tense time at the old dinner table!! Jesus always had a way of bravely speaking the truth. When one of the men tried to break the tension by basically making a presumptive statement about the group’s eventual joy in the Kingdom of God, Jesus told one of His most famous parables which was intended to teach them and us.

Parables were little stories that taught big ideas. Jesus was definitely teaching big ideas with this brilliantly told story. A good and generous master decides to host a feast and invite some folks to it. In Bible times, a feast was an enormous undertaking. There was no refrigeration, electric stoves or microwaves. A feast would entail killing, cleaning, and preparing an animal. Vegetables would need to be harvested and wine would be purchased. This was a big deal! A host would invite the guests first and when the feast was ready, the previously invited guests would be notified under the full assumption that they would attend. Well, in this story, they came up with horrible excuses to bail. The angry host, with the steaming hot feast prepared, sent his servants out again with the command to get people to the table. He said, “Make them come in so that my house will be full.”

Jesus was showing us the heart of the Father and the mission to which we are called. The feast is Jesus and the Gospel. The hard work was done and finished by Jesus on the cross. Blood was spilled to provide this feast. God went to unfathomable lengths to provide humanity with this feast. It is clear He wants guests at the table and the house to be full. He wants the lame, maimed, poor and blind at the table.

So what will you and I do this Easter season to “make them come in”. Will we invite? Are we willing to become uncomfortable for the sake of someone else’s eternity? What will we sacrifice to ensure God’s house is FULL? You see, God cares about the empty seats in our churches. Not the fabric and metal, but the person who isn’t sitting in it yet. We must align ourselves with the heart of our Heavenly Father. God loves people!! He sent His only Son on a mission to save people. Are you partnering with Him on this mission? My motivation comes from a powerful truth tucked away in this parable. You see, I am the poor, blind, maimed and lame. I came to Jesus with nothing to offer. I came to Him blind and in darkness. I showed up at the table maimed with wounds and scars from the past. I was lame and totally unable to help myself or move the needle of salvation in my life. I needed Jesus. I NEED Jesus. So, I must invite others like me to this table. Make them come in, so His house will be full.

Posted in: Blog, Community, God, Jesus

0 Comments

View Post

The Narrow Way

iStock_000000749845SmallEvery good communicator begins and ends a teaching or talk strong.  We call this the bookends.  Jesus, being the greatest speaker and teacher of all time, ended His famous Sermon on the Mount with a stunningly powerful and refreshingly simple teaching.  In Matthew 7:13-14 He introduces us to the narrow way.  While being one of His hardest teachings, it is also ultimately one of His most hope filled teachings.

Jesus tells us to “enter through the narrow gate”.  He goes on to state that there are essentially two gates or paths in life.  One is narrow, small, and difficult.  The other is wide, broad, and inviting.  Jesus is boiling all of life down to two crucial choices.  His path and then all other paths.  Philosophy tells us that life is much like a mountain with life and fulfillment and even God at the summit.  Like other mountains, this one has many different paths to get to the top.  Simply pick the path that best suits you and stick to it.  Eventually, it will take you to truth, fulfillment, and whatever you consider to be “God”.  This, however, is NOT what Jesus taught.  While Jesus was very open with His love, compassion, and service, He was extremely narrow when it came to truth.  He was so narrow that He emphatically states that all of the complexity of life comes down to a choice between two paths.

Interestingly, this principal of the Narrow Way is true in all areas of life. The narrow path ALWAYS leads to life.  If you want great health and fitness, you will have to walk a narrow path with your diet and exercise. Doing life the WIDE way like most others will lead you to the same mediocre destination as most others. To be an Olympic athlete a person must choose to live a radically different life than his or her friends. To have financial freedom you must walk a small path with your money……so small many will think your crazy!! Are you catching on?  The narrow way always leads to the most life.

This is true in all areas of life, and it is true in the most important area of life. Jesus said numerous times in the Gospels that He was the ONLY way to salvation, heaven and the Father. He left no flexibility.  He is it….the way, the path, the gate, the door.  It’s faith alone in Jesus alone.  It’s all that you are for all that He is.  In a culture that demands multiple choice answers to life, Jesus offers us one answer.  All other paths lead to destruction.  So, if you are a Christ follower, continue living the narrow life.  Love wide but live narrow.  Don’t live like everyone else.  Live the narrow life….walk the narrow path. If you’re reading this and you’ve never walked through the narrow gate called Jesus….well, I invite you to do it.  Yes it’s narrow. While the wide gate starts wide it ultimately ends in the most narrow place imaginable.  Jesus’ path starts so narrow that it may cost you everything to come through it, but it will lead you to the most wide place of freedom and life you can imagine.  The choice is yours.

Posted in: Blog

1 Comment

View Post