I’m a raging extrovert and feel more at home at a party than I do at, well, home. As much as I love hosting parties their is that moment before it begins that absolutely terrifies me. It’s that moment when all the food has been prepared, the house is clean, and the music is turned on.
And then I wait.
I hope someone will show up, but what if they don’t? I eagerly stand at the window and hope to recognize a familiar car drive up. There’s just nothing worse than a party without guests. I feel so insecure and inadequate in moments like that. I know in a few minutes my guests will arrive and I’ll act like that moment never happened and I’ll crack some joke and act like I have everything together but the truth is, I don’t. The truth is, I’m a mess.
Jesus told a story of a similar kind of party.
A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. – Luke 14:16-18
Jesus is telling this story to explain how his kingdom works. He is placing himself in the role of the hopeful host awaiting guests. He’s standing at the window with food and house prepared. And then he waits. However, after his guests make excuses for not attending, he adds a twist to the invited.
‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. – Luke 14:21-23
According to Jesus, the kingdom of God will be filled with the needy, poor, rejected, insecure, and inadequate. Looks like a mess like me will fit right in. Our hands will be empty and our hearts will be full. To those who have nothing to offer, everything will be given. We’ll be there, because we’re not all the way there. There is simply nothing better than a house full of grateful guests. This gives me hope for the next time I’m awaiting guests because Jesus is awaiting me. After all, he knows the truth.
The truth is, we’re a mess.
The truth is, we’re invited.
Also, this has started to change my guest list to look more like his. I’m beginning to invite the needy, poor, and messy into my life. I figure, if we’re going to be sharing the Kingdom of God someday, I should get to know the other guests.
It’s going to be quite a party.