Day 14 - Chapter 14 - All are Welcomed
It is easy to read a message of “don’t be arrogant” into Chapter 14, and it is in that text. However, the most important message is that Jesus is teaching his followers … and there are many followers at this point … to go out and encourage all people … regardless of their place in society … to come to Christianity. He uses parables again to make this message clear.
Jesus doesn’t make up parables just to be telling a story. I have heard lots of people ask the question, “Why did He speak in parables that were hard to understand?” Actually, they weren’t hard to understand because He used everyday occurrences that people understood and knew about.
I love the analogy to the dinners or banquets and where you should sit. I love this because I have had friends who were guilty of assuming they were to sit at head tables, only to find themselves asked to move to another seat! I have had friends who jumped in to make sure they were in a picture, even though they didn’t have a place in that group. We call that photo bombing now and it is done in fun, but I’ve had colleagues who would make sure they got in a picture that a newspaper photographer was taking! I had a friend who threw a big party and invited a bunch of ‘hot shots’, many of whom didn’t show up. She was devastated, but if she had invited her ‘common’ friends … she would have had a crowd. I’ve also had the experience of hosting public functions where people show up who had not made their reservation. They were rude … yes … but also waiting for the best invitation to come along.
All of these things are discussed in this chapter, in the examples from Jesus. Isn’t that funny?
The Parable of the Dinner is an important message. The host invites people who don’t show up and he sends his servant out to the streets to bring in anybody who will come … the poor, the crippled, those in need. After all, there is a banquet prepared and somebody needs to eat it. The servant brings in as many as he can find, yet there is still room for more. We are to see through this story … that there is room for all ... and always more … in the Kingdom of God.
Jesus also tells his followers that they need to be ready to give up everything in order to follow him. They really have to be ready to leave a lot behind.
My take-away from this chapter is pretty simple. Salvation is open to everyone. There is no ranking order for those who accept Christ. Our life should be lived this way. We should be open to everyone, when it comes to sharing our faith. I remember an instance in my church when two little children walked down the aisle to profess salvation. Their family didn’t have much, and it was apparent by the clothes they were wearing. They had been coming to church on the bus and their parents were not attending church. I knew … as did my parents … exactly what people were thinking. The answer to the question was … “of course they could join our church” … it didn’t matter how they looked, that their hair wasn’t combed, or that their family was dirt poor.
My mother and father made sure those children were welcomed. My daddy was a deacon and never discussed what was said at the private meetings of the deacons, but I can just imagine what he had to say on this subject! Both those children grew up to go to college and they have now raised families and remained in church. We need to avoid arrogant ways!
I’ve stopped having my annual Christmas open house gathering. Without my husband, it is just not any fun! I want to share one of those gatherings, so follow this link to see it on my blog!
Persimmon Bread is one of our favorites, and if you are lucky enough to have access to a persimmon tree, you can pick the fruit right off the ground after the first freeze. Otherwise, most fresh produce markets carry a hybrid variety of big persimmons during the winter months. The flavor is the same! Sticky and delicious. Here’s my recipe for this delicious bread.
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup persimmon pulp
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Mix together the eggs, oil and sugar until creamy. Add the flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda and continue to cream the mixture. In the last step, fold in the raisins and the chopped nuts.
Bake at 325 degrees in a 9x4 inch bread loaf pan for about 70 minutes. This is a slow, low bake. The bread is done, when a pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let it cool before removing it from the bread pan.