If “Possession is nine-tenths of the law” then invitation is nine-tenths of friendship.” There are so many stories of Jesus inviting people to the table. Jesus invites people to the feast, he invites people to work with him, he invites everyone to the banquet, and he invites us all to communion. The bottom line is that many are called and receive the invitation but few are chosen to accept the invitation. On this Thanksgiving I think it’s good to reflect on how many invitations we receive from God, the percentage of what we reject, and what we fully embrace. There is the invitation to celebrate, to come unhindered, and to work for God’s purposes. There are other invitations to give, to receive, to mourn, and to follow.
Invitation to all
26and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. 27And there were many lepers[a] in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” 28When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. Luke 4:26-28
Why were they angry? The Jews were jealous that God’s invitation was for everyone including the Gentiles. Jesus quotes that many of his “listeners” were as unbelieving as the people of Israel in the days of Elijah and Elisha. People heard the message of God but they rejected it. When the invitation is given many hear but do not listen. The invitation is for all and when he was not the political ruler that they expected his invitation was not accepted.
Invitation to heal
40Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to him, and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them. Like 4:40
At the time of Sabbath the time of healing would have been at the end of the time of rest. As the sun is setting on Saturday evening people began to travel to meet Jesus accepting the invitation to be healed. Luke points out that they came “with all kinds of diseases,” and he healed everyone.
Invitation to work
1On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” 6And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. 7They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” 9For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon,”Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”
Did you get this invitation? I can speak from experience that I have and I have not always accepted it. When you get an invitation to drop everything and follow Jesus, and that you will use your skills for “Kingdom purposes” most send their regrets. You know that part of the invitation where it says “Regrets only?” Can you think of a time when Jesus was calling you, inviting you to be a friend, to be in fellowship, to work for him, to be healed by him and to live for him? The invitation is for everyone, come join the party and don’t send regrets! Give thanks for the invitation it is nine-tenths of Friendship and Fellowship.