Key Verse

Come; for all things are now ready.
— Luke 14:17

The Foolishness of Making Excuses

Luke 14:16-24


When Jeshuah refused the invitation, it was offered to another.

Dear Brother,

I write in haste to you this day about a matter of great urgency to yourself and those of your region with whom you have dealings.

It has been brought to my attention that a certain nobleman, Lord Jehuel, will soon be in your area. He is apparently well known in royal circles. Furthermore, it has recently been made known to me that he is held in great regard by the ruler himself. Ah, that I had known this important fact sooner! But I must not get ahead of myself in relating this story to you.

I should begin by letting you know how I came to have knowledge of this man. About two months past, this Lord Jehuel came into our area and took up residence at a large dwelling some twelve furlongs from my home. Not having heard of this man before he arrived, I naturally was not overly hasty to make his acquaintance. With my important position, I wanted to investigate and be sure he was an acceptable associate for those of my household.

With this intent, I wrote to several of my acquaintances in the area he was reported to be from, inquiring as to his character and various aspects of his background. I had not yet received a reply to these inquiries when one day, quite unexpectedly, a messenger came from Lord Jehuel inviting me to a great banquet to be held at his dwelling that very evening.

Being unsure of his qualifications for immediate acceptance into our society, I made an excuse. I informed the messenger that I had bought a piece of land and needed to go and inspect the property that evening. Of course, my excuse was poor. Who would be so foolish as to purchase a parcel of land without first inspecting it? But it was the only thing that came to my mind at the moment. Actually, I considered it of little import. The messenger accepted the excuse without comment and left my presence.

My brother, that was a foolhardy mistake. And I write you now in the earnest hope that you will not make the same error.

The following day when I went into the city to attend to some business, the marketplace was buzzing with news of the great event that had taken place the evening before. I first became aware that something unusual had happened when I stopped by the shop of Jacob, the shoe-maker, to order a pair of sandals. His shop was full—and at that early hour of the morning! The people gathered around Jacob were congratulating him warmly on his “good fortune.” I had no idea what was going on, so I finally drew one man aside and inquired of him. He explained that Jacob had been invited to a great banquet the night before at the home of Lord Jehuel.

Of course, that caught my attention immediately since I, too, had been invited to the same banquet. But Jacob? I confess to feeling a bit surprised that he had been included. After all, a shoemaker does not usually move in our company. I later found that Jacob seemingly had received a last-minute invitation. They say that Lord Jehuel’s messenger was out in the streets just moments before the banquet was to begin. Upon meeting Jacob, who was on his way to his home, the messenger insisted that Jacob come with him to the dinner.

Now for the climax to my story. Apparently the dinner itself was a lavish affair, the like of which has never been seen before in these parts. The food was superb and the surroundings unequalled. But, even more astonishing, after the dinner Lord Jehuel arose and began to speak. He explained that his mission was one ordered by the king—that he had been sent into cities to assist the people through gifts of money and materials. The purpose of his banquet was to get acquainted quickly with the local townsfolk and distribute the portion entitled to that area. He would then be moving on to another location in the kingdom.

The banquet that evening was the only occasion at which the distributions were made. It is my understanding that everyone present received gifts and funds—all completely unexpected. And, my brother, I missed this rare opportunity! How I have regretted my impulsive excuse! What it has cost me!

I write to you now in the hope that you will not make the same mistake I have made, for I know that our character and behavior are very much alike. If Lord Jehuel should, indeed, make an appearance in your locality, do not turn aside any invitation from him. I pray you, for your own good, learn from my mistake.

My most sincere greetings to you and all your household.

Your loving brother, Jeshuah