The No-Excuses RSVP / Luke 14:15-26 NIV
There are good priorities, better priorities and the best priority. My relationship with God through the saving work of Jesus Christ, which I experience through the Presence of God’s Holy Spirit in my life is the best priority I could possibly have. In Luke 14 Jesus attacks some really great priorities in our lives. He never tells us that these are not good things in our lives, they just can never take the place of THE priority in our lives.
He tells us about this in the form of parable about a wealthy man who prepares a great banquet and invites people to it. Many make excuses in their RSVP about why they cannot attend. Through this parable and Jesus’ teaching which follows, we learn about priorities that can never be excuses to respond to Jesus’ calling upon our lives.
Priorities That Are Not Excuses:
#1 - ______________
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters… such a person cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26a NIV
Family IS a priority! Honoring father and mother is even the 5th commandment AND the first commandment with a promise - “that you may live long.” Is Jesus contradicting the teaching? No! “Hate” is used as a strong word to show the relative priority of loving God more (which is the first and second commandments.)
Jesus often used hyperbole - exaggerations in language - to make his point. The point here is that your love for your family cannot be at the same level or greater than your love for Christ.
#2 - ____________________
“Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’” Luke 14:19 NIV
The yoke of oxen would be the means of work for a farmer. Anything that we do to prepare ourselves to be able to work harder and more efficiently, to earn a better living, is a valuable priority to have in one’s life.
Proverbs 12:11 - “Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.”
So to have the opportunity to purchase 5 oxen would be a top priority in one’s life - not something that happened more than once probably! Yet compared to responding to God’s invitation to His banquet, no excuse!
#3 - _______________
“Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’” Luke 14:20 NIV
The marriage priorities in both Hebrew and early Christian cultures were held to a very high standard. In Mosaic law a man could even be excused from military service for the entire first year of his marriage. Most of us would understand that if we invited someone over for a banquet and the man was on his honeymoon, that he could be excused.
But Jesus says that in this case of great feast in the kingdom of God, there can be no greater priority than RSVP with “yes” and “now.”
#4 - _________________
“The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.” Luke 14:18b NIV
To be a land owner was also a social station in life. One who owned land had achieved something that may have taken a lifetime of work. It could be like someone’s lifetime savings, IRA, or pension plan today. So in that day people would understand if someone needed to go and see the field he had just bought. A worthy priority over attending a feast. But not so when it comes to God’s RSVP.
#5 - ________________
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate… - yes, even their own life -
such a person cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26a NIV
Admittedly these are all exaggerations in Jesus’ story telling. Each of these values are God ordained and provided for in very strong terms in God’s Word. But the point that Jesus is making - our RSVP to God - is not an exaggeration. It is not just a good choice. It is not a better choice. It is always the best choice. The top priority…
My Invitation For Relationship With Christ ________________ Over Everything Else.
“A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’” Luke 14:16-17 NIV
This is a perfect description of the invitation that God extends to us. For us to have a relationship with Him.
Come - Don’t hold back. Don’t say no. Don’t do anything else. Don’t let something / anything else keep you from responding “yes.”
Now - For everything is now ready. -There is an important reason WHY the “NOW” is included here. The timing is important. This is not a decision that can be put off. There is no “rain check” possible. There can be no other priority in your life when God calls and God invites. It’s always “Come for everything is now ready!”
What are you waiting for? What keeps you from your own RSVP?
How To Make Sure I RSVP To Christ’s Invitation:
R - ______________ to Christ’s Invitation.
To say “yes” and to say yes “now.” Jesus describes this invitation for relationship as if he is standing at the door of your heart
“Be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” Revelation 3:19b-20 NIV
Jesus wants relationship! The great banquet / feast in the kingdom of God begins with a much more intimate daily meal with Jesus! It’s always Jesus only and Jesus first. That’s why “earnest and repent.”
For many of us, we know we have made that initial response. But how do we keep that response, that RSVP, fresh and prioritized?
S - ____________ each day with Christ.
It’s important that we see each new day as a gift from God. And an opportunity from God to serve Him, to praise Him, and to bring Him glory.
“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” Psalm 143:8 NIV
The morning could be our opportunity to recall just how much Jesus loves us and how much we can trust Him. Then to ask for His guidance for our day. Literally each day we start with trusting our very lives to Him.
V - ____________ my life beyond the here and now.
We are eternal beings wrapped up in a temporal shell, living day to day lives. Why are we eternal? Only because The Eternal One and the All-Powerful One deems it to be so. Without God’s eternity and power, what are we?
“What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. / But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.”James 4:14b & Psalm 39:7 NIV
Without the intentional stopping, thinking, visualizing what our lives really are, we can easily find ourselves majoring on the minors… making a big deal out of the unimportant. We can miss out on the eternals in our world. When we visualize our lives beyond the here and now, it helps us to refocus our attention on the only eternal things in our lives - on our relationship with God, His Word, and His children.
P - _____________ Christ in everything I do.
We must understand that Jesus never said that family, education, work, marriage, investments, retirement, our health and lives - that these things were not priorities. They are! They just can never be our top priority. Let’s put God’s top commandment together with Jesus’ instructions…
“You shall have no other gods before me. / Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Exodus 20:3 & Matthew 6:33 NIV
When we God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness first, all the other priorities of our life fall into place. In fact, it’s the only way everything else works out right. Without God in first place and following His righteousness, we are most likely to screw up our other priorities and not even live up to our own expectations for ourselves (let alone God’s!) That’s why Jesus promises: “and all these things will be added to you.”
Take each priority and invest it with God and His righteousness.