Best Doesn’t Always Mean Closest

Published on Thursday, 29 August 2019 23:38
Written by Stewardship Today Staff

finance sept2019If premium seats to your favorite team’s home games seem expensive and hard to come by, then celebrate their success. It’s also likely they not only cost quite a bit, but they’ve been held by individuals, families, or local businesses for years. Some tickets are impossible to acquire because they never appear on the market. That’s as true for the theater, ballet, or a major concert, as it is for major sporting events. A lack of availability raises the value. With the resources to buy, you want the very best seats. We always want the best. Well, don’t we?

Jesus invited his listeners to discover another concept in play, a heavenly one. Though it doesn’t involve tickets, it does involve reserved seats—as significant a pursuit in the first century as it is in ours. Watching guests take their seats at a banquet, Jesus noticed “how they were choosing the places of honor at the table,” and he questioned the wisdom of making what seems an obvious choice. “ ‘When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. A more distinguished guest than you may been invited, and the host may ask you to move. Then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place. Rather, go and take the lowest place so that the host may invite you to move to the highest position’ ” (Luke 14:7-10a).

So, why is this a heavenly perspective? Clearly, Jesus had their attention. He pointed them to the true nature of his teaching: those who invite the needy to feast at the ultimate banquet. “ ‘When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous’” (Luke 14:12-14). The Lord invited us all to do the righteous thing—to send an invitation to those the world rejects. They will not be overlooked in Glory. They will be invited to the heavenly feast, their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.