After the servant had done this, he reported, "There is still room for more." So his master said, "Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full." (Luke 14:22-23, NLT)
Have you ever seen a parent struggle with the imminent departure of his or her college-bound child? Maybe you've been that parent, or you remember being that young adult that couldn't pry yourself out of your parent's embrace. For some the onset of the "empty nest" stirs a say-it-ain't-so kind of heartache. When lives become so intertwined, the absence of one leaves a void that makes the next home-leave or holiday a sweet, satisfying reunion.
While the analogy may not be perfect, I believe God resonates with the empty-nester--pained by empty rooms in His house, longing for the the sweet, satisfying reunion with our fallen race.
The parable of Luke 14:16-24 makes it clear: God is most pleased when His house is most full.
While Jesus uses this parable to reveal the depths of the human heart's rejection of God, a dynamic that can't be missed is the depth of God's heart for you and I as revealed in seven simple of the master in the parable: "so that the house will be full" (v. 23). God doesn't want His matchless grace to result in an empty party, nor a partially empty part, but a full house. With this as His clearcut target on the wall, we see a revelation of God Himself.
WE SEE HIS INFINITE LOVE
For God, a full house is more than just about bragging rights to having thrown the biggest party in town. It's more than just a numbers game. He's not fixated on stats. But He IS all about people. The Father genuine loves people with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3) and yearns for relationship and reunion. He's the first Empty-nester, and ever since oneness was lost in Eden long ago, He has been tirelessly working for and waiting for Eden restored. Why? Because you and I matter to Him. Because, as Calvary reveals, He loves you and I more than His own existence. That's not just love, that's infinite love.
WE SEE HIS INFINITE RESOURCES
When Debbie and I sit down to plan our kids' birthday parties, I'll admit that I get a little nervous, particularly when we're forming a guest list that slowly getting longer and longer. Don't get me wrong. I like celebrating life with people, but I realize that when it comes to throwing a party, we don't always have the luxury of ever-flowing resources to be able to host as many as we'd like. God, on the other hand, is not limited by the things I'm limited by. God doesn't have a slim budget like you and I. The party He has prepared us was paid for not "with corruptible things, like silver or gold...but with the precious blood of Christ" (1 Pet. 1:18-19, NKJV)! His infinite grace has made it possible for an infinite guest list.
WE SEE HIS RADICAL INCLUSIVITY
If you've read through the entire parable, maybe you noticed who exactly it is that the master is wanting to fill his house with. In v. 21, it's the poor and maimed, the lame and blind. The least of the least, those most often overlooked by others. In v. 23, it's those from the highways and byways, near and far, no geographical or ethnic boundaries in consideration. God extends His gospel invitation to you and I not based on our personal status, merits, or accomplishments. God wants His house full with whoever will acknowledge their need and respond to the gift of salvation that only He can offer.
A full house. It's God's target, and I want to help Him reach it. May we be found daily saying "yes" to His gracious invitation personally. And may we join the efforts of those going out to the highways and byways, to urge others to respond in kind.