Jesus told a parable once about a man giving a great banquet (Luke 14). After his servants sent out the invitations, people began to make excuses. “Sir, we have done as you commanded and still there is room,” the servants told the man (v 22). And so others were invited to fill the vacancies. In fact, the man rescinded the original invitations altogether. “For I tell you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet” (v 24).
Pay special attention to the fact that none of the excuses were about sinful things. They were simply about everyday life. It isn’t wrong to get married. It isn’t wrong to buy property. It isn’t wrong to take care of your business, whether farming or manufacturing or accounting or sales. What makes the Lord angry is placing those things above him. Immediately after that parable, he talks about people loving family more than him. He does not tolerate that either.
And please note this: The banquet may be free, but it is not without cost, his next subject (v 28). Family, in fact, may be one of those costs. Jesus adds that self is the biggest cost—“Whoever does not bear his own cross, cannot be my disciple” (v 27). You must understand that when you bear your cross you are on the way to your crucifixion, your death. It has nothing to do with bearing some disability or illness or low lot in life. Those things are not voluntary; they happen to people regardless their affiliation, or lack of, to the Lord. No, Christians choose to carry their crosses, to crucify themselves, for his sake. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20).
We sing a song, “There is room in the kingdom for the small things you can do.” That songwriter understood the cost--service. We may partake to the full of his mercy and grace, but we are expected to serve because we have become disciples of a greater Servant. The room available is not for the lazy or the selfish. Neither is it for those too proud to accept help when needed—that is how they serve, by crucifying their pride.
God has room for us--plenty of room. He wants us to dwell with him forever, beginning here and now. In fact, if we excuse ourselves from living with him now, on the day when it really matters, when we need an eternal room, all we will see is a sign in his window, one especially for those who refused his invitation in this life, one that says, “No Vacancy.”
There is none like God…who rides through the heavens to your help, through the skies in his majesty. The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms, Deut 33:26,27.