Invitation: Are you coming?
Jesus is always inviting. He’s always drawing people, hoping that we will respond by wanting a deeper relationship with Him. Hoping that the invitation we have to get to know Jesus better will be one that can change our life.
And Jesus uses a lot of stories to help us to understand, well, what is this invitation? What does it mean? And how do we accept it? Because it’s not as easy as it seems. There are real challenges with what it means to accept the invitation from Jesus.
What gets in the way? Because that’s really what’s at the heart of the gospel. There are certain things that just get in the way, and people are unable to say yes to this invitation. Business. A man purchases a field and wants to check on his economic investment. Fair enough. An economic investment, if the checking on the field, becomes more important than the relationship with Jesus, then our priorities are misplaced.
Similarly, the man who purchases five yoke of oxen. Very good, very wonderful thing, helpful. But if that is more important than our relationship with Jesus, our priorities are skewed. Even the marriage that he talks about, the man who has just married a woman.
We may think, well, yes, you’re newly married. You should, in fact, give time and attention to your marriage. However, if marriage is not seen as something that comes from the call of God, and is primarily, then a vocation, something we as human beings are drawn to, if Jesus is not the priority in our relationship, if we don’t view marriage as a pathway to salvation, then our priorities are not in order.
Paul gives us a sense of those things that are, in fact, helpful in accepting the invitation of Jesus. One is recognizing that if we have a relationship with Jesus, then at some point we should see gifts. Gifts of the Holy Spirit, gifts that come out of this relationship, the grace of God that helps us to be able to do those things that God in his wisdom wants us to do.
And so he lists a whole bunch of gifts that we could have. Prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhortation, contribution, being diligent if one is responsible for others, doing acts of mercy with cheerfulness. Those aren’t always easy things. Paul goes on to, in fact, say they’re not so easy. We have to encourage people often because they might not be keeping their way.
So Paul lists the things we should do, and they’re fine, but he also encourages them not to grow slack and zeal, to really be fervent in spirit, to serve the Lord. Today, as in every day, Jesus invites us to a deeper relationship with him.
There are a variety of ways we might signal to Jesus our openness for this relationship, reading the Word of God and praying with it, spending some time in prayer, in silence, thinking about the ways in which God is working and moving in our life, serving someone in need, helping the poor, the outcast, those who do not have their basic needs. Jesus invites us and longs for us to accept his invitation.
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