Hospitality is a huge way of life amongst the people here in South Asia. It’s their way of saying “I respect you, and value your company.” How welcomed we have often felt, and it has helped to create a real friendship between us.
But what about those people in our large city who can’t contribute; those who are so poor that they struggle just to survive? Then there are those who live in the interior of our district, where nobody pays them much attention. They are largely farmers, and if the monsoon suddenly washes their crops away, then there is no help.
But we know from the parable of ‘The Great Banquet’ in Luke 14, that those who are marginalised are the very ones that the Master is seeking out. They are being welcomed and invited to join the feast!
A number of years ago on Easter Sunday, in the interior of our district, we set up a simple bamboo structured tent in the field. Oh, how hungry the people were to hear the Good News! They were desperate to have hope, and to know that there is a God who can understand their disappointments and struggles. During the prayer time, the Holy Spirit started to work deeply and people were being touched. I noticed one man who stood at the side watching intently. He now saw the evidence of a loving God at work- meeting and healing the people right where they were at! ‘’By what power do you minister in?” he asked. We replied, “It’s nothing of us, but all about the Master and his love for his people.” Soon after, he too became a faithful follower of Jesus- much to the joy of his wife!
Last Christmas, we held a large banquet for 200 people out on that field. The people were all welcome, and the Good News is becoming a reality in their lives. They travelled for miles to come and didn’t want to miss out!
Coming back to the story of the banquet in Luke 14. Here we see that the Master is so lovingly preparing a feast with no expense spared! Oh, how painful it must be for him to have people reject his invitation! Sadly, how many of us are too busy, or have other priorities? There is yet more to the story, as those invited were the marginalized! How can we learn from them? They readily accept the invitation and are the joyful recipients of the feast. With gratitude, they know from what they have been saved.
Our Master is preparing the greatest of banquets- one that is beyond our imagination. It is the banquet in celebration of the Father’s family coming home, paid for by the blood of his precious son. We still have time to gather the invited, that they too may be part of the feast.
And who is the servant that goes out to invite them? It’s the ones you wouldn’t expect… you and I! Let’s be faithful to the task that he has called us to, so that together we can celebrate at that grand banquet table; “So that his house will be full.’’ Luke 14v 23
Written by Peter and Leonora serving in South Asia.
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