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Timed Appointment

Luke 14:16-17
Jesus replied: ‘A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, “Come, for everything is now ready.” (NIVUK)

Although some cultures have a relaxed understanding of 'on time', most people in the workplace know that 'time is money'.  Whatever is not made today cannot be dispatched tomorrow, and failure to order goods on time means they cannot be used when they are needed.  Teachers must assemble their classes at a particular time; and meetings are arranged at a particular time, otherwise people will not know when to come.  Put it another way: we live in a world governed by time and space: for every ‘What’ we do, there is a ‘When’ to do it.

It is the same with God's invitation to His Kingdom.  Jesus' parable of the great banquet was all about God making preparations to welcome all those who would believe and receive His invitation.  The story is told in a very definite way; there is no room for ambiguity.  The banquet is in God's 'diary' for a certain time, and preparations are being made so that everything is ready in time to greet the many invited guests.  

As well as the Master and His guests, Jesus’ story introduces the Master’s servant.  God’s servant was understood to be the Messiah (Christ) from Isaiah 42:1.  Just at the right time (Galatians 4:4) the invitations were personally delivered, by Jesus with an instruction to ‘Come ... now’.  And yet, His call was spurned by most of Israel (Luke 13:34-35).  But the same gospel call was issued by the apostles and then evangelists through the ages (Luke 24:46-47).  

It is true that God is not bound by time or space: but we are.  So, the only time we have in which to respond to God's voice is 'now'.  Tomorrow may be too late.  Although God is patient and slow to be angry (Joel 2:13), it is foolish to test His patience.  At some point, failure to respond will be treated as a 'No' response (Genesis 6:3) - as certainly as death comes to end every possibility.  Therefore Psalm 95:6-8 says, “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.  Today, if only you would hear his voice, do not harden your hearts  ...” It is very important to respond to the Lord's Word when you hear His voice. Do not delay.

Heavenly Father. Thank You for planning for the future of Your people and wanting to welcome all who will accept Christ's invitation. Thank You too for giving me opportunities to obey You and receive Your blessing. Please forgive me when I have failed to respond and missed the moment to cooperate with You for Your glory's sake and my blessing. I repent of my slowness and ask for Your help so that I may more readily work with You each day until Jesus returns to welcome each believer to their special place in Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams