Then Jesus said to him, ‘Someone gave a great dinner and invited many. At the time for the dinner he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for everything is ready now.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of land, and I must go out and see it; please accept my regrets.’ Another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please accept my regrets.’ Another said, ‘I have just been married, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the slave returned and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and said to his slave, ‘Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame…’” (Lk 14: 16-21)

So, not everybody has time for the kind of fellowship, food, and entertainment God has on offer at His dinner party. Only the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame end up coming – the ones with all the time in the world, and nowhere better to go. The “invited” ones politely decline, because they “have” matters, like work and family and romance, which require their wholehearted attention.

Does one need to be poor, or crippled, or blind, or lame to hear God’s call and “find time” for Him? Yes. This has been my experience, anyway. I need to be “poor in spirit,” and have “a broken and humbled heart” (Ps 50/51: 17). Perhaps ironically, for some of us the way to “a broken and humbled heart” is through a God-less dedication to work, family, or some relationship, romantic or otherwise. Without God in the picture, an intense dedication to a job or a relationship can leave me with a broken heart and emptiness. But this is my human condition without God in the first place, because I am not self-sufficient.

Whatever responsibilities or relationships I am engaging today, let me open them up to God’s nurturing word, taking time for His fellowship. It is made so accessible to me in the God-Man Jesus Christ, Who comes into my world in Bethlehem, to dine with the poor, crippled, blind, and lame. Today, once again, I bring my brokenness and emptiness to His table, to be healed and filled with His grace. “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in him.” (Ps 33/34: 8)

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