Let us continue our conversation on Luke 14. The party host then says, “Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet” (vs. 21).
You can sense urgency in his voice. He wants to celebrate with as many people as possible. In this parable the host represents God and the invitation to the party is an invitation to belong in the Kingdom.
The curious twist that Jesus puts on this parable is, once again, a counter-cultural message. He makes it clear that those who belong in the Kingdom of God are the same people that were ostracized by the church of His day. These were the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame. The same people who are often the marginalized in our day too.
Jesus was telling the church to “go out quickly” because people should not have to wait until they get to heaven to belong.
God is not telling churches to form a committee to explore whether or not the church should offer a disability ministry. God is telling churches to quit talking and just do it! He says, “Go out quickly!” There are some things in Scripture that are simple and this is one of them. Because this is something close to the heart of God I believe that if you “go out quickly” He will bless your efforts.
Have you ever wondered why Jesus has not returned yet? I truly believe one of the reasons is because He has been waiting 2,000 years for the Church to answer His command in Luke 14. I have a feeling that Jesus might say to the Church, “What took you so long? My message and instructions were clear.”
I am also wondering what God is saying to you personally through this passage? You cannot simply sit back and say, “Well, since the church has taken care of this corporately I don’t have to worry about it personally.” Wrong. What is God calling you to do personally?
Maybe Jesus’ example of physically embracing the man with the disability challenges you. Maybe it is pushing you to step out of your comfort zone and get to know someone who has been marginalized by society. This is sometimes difficult because a person’s disability can remind us of our own brokenness. You see, we all have abilities and disabilities. Our brokenness should not be the cause of fear or shame. If you are willing to step out of your comfort zone and embrace someone who has been marginalized by society you will find that you have more commonalities than differences. You will be blessed. God is waiting for you to follow His example.
Or maybe you are someone who has been marginalized by society. Maybe you have a disability and you are wondering where you belong in the Kingdom. I want to say that I am glad you are here. I want you to know that you belong not only at First Christian Church, but more importantly you belong to God. It does not matter if you can walk, talk, read, or write. The only thing that matters is that you belong to God! And if you belong to God that means that He has uniquely gifted you. You have value. You have a purpose. God has given you a job that only you can do in His Kingdom.
Do you feel challenged or encouraged by this passage? We would love to hear your thoughts!
Ryan Wolfe is the Disability Ministry Pastor at First Christian Church in Canton, OH. Click to read Ryan’s full bio.