“A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ But they all with one accord began to make excuses” (Luke 14:16–18).

WE ARE NEVER MORE FOOLISH THAN WHEN WE SAY NO TO GOD. We act as if God were trying to force us into an unnatural, undesirable way of life, when in reality He is inviting us to experience something very good. He is not trying to hurt us — He wants to help us. When we say no to Him, we are refusing to accept the love that He longs to give us. In fact, that is what sin always is: a foolish unwillingness to let ourselves be loved by our God.

We would not ever turn down what God has for us, of course, if we were not deceived. When we choose to do something other than God’s will, we’ve been led to believe that we’re acting in our best interests. But we should not be under any delusion as to where that lie comes from. To the Corinthians, Paul wrote, “I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3). Our adversary, the devil, has had long experience in making absurd foolishness seem like great wisdom.

But we should not let ourselves be fooled so easily. The biblical injunction “Do not be deceived” (Galatians 6:7) is a command. It implies that we can make the choice to keep our eyes open, and that is what we should always insist on doing. We know far too much about God to believe that He would invite us to anything other than the greatest of banquets, and when Satan suggests otherwise, we should have enough sense to simply say, “Shut up!”

God is inviting us to enjoy everything that is truly good about life. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). What we should understand is not only that God offers us life but that He puts His offer in the form of an invitation. “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ . . . Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). Who in his right mind would turn this down? When we make excuses, aren’t we making a tragic mistake?

“Who would prefer to be poor? Who would choose to be sick? What hungry person could possibly walk away from a banquet table? O Lord, help me to respond warmly to your gracious invitation” (Bernard Bangley).

Gary Henry — WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com

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