We will resume our study of 1 Peter after Spirit Week. With Fall Break this coming Thursday through Monday, I figured that many homerooms would only be able to fit in one of the blog devotions for this week (“By His Stripes You Were Healed”). Next week, things will be very busy each morning with Spirit Week costume judging, and I really want as many of our students as possible to pick up the study on time with chapter three. The next 1 Peter post will be on Friday, October 27th for discussion on Monday, October 30th. Until then, hoewever, I plan to post a few devotions from the parables of Jesus for those of you who want them. Some homerooms may be able to use the devotions between now and the 30th, but even if your homeroom does not, you can read them on your own if you like. There are also over 50 Mark devotions from this past summer that are available, too. My point is that I strongly encourage you to stay on track with your daily time in God’s Word, either with the blog or your own devotional Bible reading plan. As Psalm 1:1-3 reminds us, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither, and whatever he does shall prosper.”
Today’s parable is a story about people who were too busy for God. In the past six months, I have learned a lot about our school’s spiritual culture from the spiritual life surveys that all of the current middle school students have now taken and from many individual and small group conversations with students. I am now convinced that the extreme busyness of our students is the number one obstacle to our spiritual growth as a school. Our lives are so jammed up with stuff that we simply make no time for God. Personal time in His Word is not happening at all for at least half of our students. Even with those who are reading the Scriptures, they are giving about 5 minutes at most to one random verse from a devotional book. Compared with 2-3 hours spent soaking in the world through electronic rectangles and another 2 hours practicing on teams filled with unbelievers, the intake of God’s Word is like a tiny piece of spinach in a diet filled with burgers and pizza and fries; it is not enough to make a meaningful difference. If we want God to change our lives, we have to make ourselves available to Him by changing our priorities. How we spend our time shows more about what we value than anything else in our lives.
While attending a great dinner party, Jesus told a story about the greatest of all dinner parties. The invitations went out to the guests and they all RSVPed saying, “Yes, we’ll be there.” But when the day of the party arrived, everybody bowed out with a different excuse. When the rubber met the road to follow through on their commitments, the people simply weren’t willing to do it. As amazing as the great party was (it is a metaphor for heaven), the more amazing thing was that the original guests (people with religious upbringings who had heard the gospel many times) rejected the master (God/Jesus) and His free invitation. Why? They just had other things that they wanted to do, and they really weren’t even very good excuses for missing the party. People inspect land (like new houses today) and work animals (like cars today) before they buy them, not afterwards. And most wives would generally be happy to join their husbands at big dinner parties. So the master gets angry with the guests and rejects them in return; he instead opens the party to everybody else (people without any real religious background, like a lot of Americans today), even the most despised and rejected members of society. They get to go the party simply because they are willing. They are thankful just for the chance to go.
Now before we get too judgmental of the foolishness of the guests in this story, we have to ask ourselves the question: Are we ever like them? Are we too busy for God right now? Do we live like we believe a home in heaven and a relationship with Jesus Christ are the most important things to us? Would anyone who knows us well say that we live like that? I encourage you to read the story below and spend some time thinking about how you are spending your time and what really matters most in your life.
The Text (Luke 14:15-24)
15 Now when one of those who sat at the table with Him heard these things, he said to Him, “Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!”
16 Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, 17 and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ 18 But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ 20 Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’ 23 Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’”
Questions to Think About
1. Do you have a regular time reading God’s Word each day? If not, what can you do to make that happen in your life? If you do already have a devotional time, what can you do to protect that time better so that you can be more consistent with your daily Bible reading?
2. What changes could you make in your life so that your relationship with Jesus Christ can be your top priority? Are you willing to do what is necessary to follow Christ?