The Kingdom of God broke through–if only for a moment.
We have been studying parables for 10 weeks in our Tuesday Bible study with street youth. We have taught familiar stories to many. And therein lies the danger: the street youth reduce the stories to moral stories. Jesus didn’t mean them that way. He meant us to better understand what it is like when people follow God’s rules, that is, when we encounter the Kingdom of God.
As we studied the parable of the banquet, I used the example of people being invited to our Bible studies. We invite people we’ve known for years. And sometimes they resist. But we also invite people who cause trouble. And we invite people we’ve never met who seem to be passing through. We will teach and we will offer hospitality. It’s up to the invited who comes. It was an obvious similarity to the passage, but as I taught it, an idea came to me.
I backed up and told the teaching of Jesus right before: Jesus told people not to take the best position at a banquet. They should take poor positions so the host can move up the honored ones. They should avoid the best spots lest they be embarrassed by the host asking them to move aside for someone else more deserving of the honor. I decided to ask if they wanted to do this at our banquets on Tuesday. They did!
So the next week, I reminded them of the story while we were still outside. I told them to go upstairs and line up at the table like usual. When everyone gets there, we pray a blessing for those who consume the food, that it will build up their bodies, refresh their minds, and heal their hearts. But afterwards, I asked who had a hard week. A couple of people sheepishly raised hands. I asked if I could move them to the heat of the line. And I pointed out that there is a young man who always goes last every week. “Could I move him up?” They agreed. He admitted, “I am very hungry this week.” Another man had twisted his ankle that week. The group moved him up. I was so overjoyed that they got the lesson! And I am quite certain that the Kingdom of God broke through, if only for a moment, around that table!
And we invite you to be part. You can set our banquet table any week by signing up here. Or you can sign-up to be a helper and come witness our motley crew at work.
Share your stories of the blessing of being moved to a place of honor.