By Shannon Baker, BCM/D National Correspondent
NEWARK, Del.—In the president’s message at Connect 2013, the annual meeting of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware at Ogletown Baptist Church in Newark, Del., BCM/D President Robert Anderson shared about the Parable of the Large Banquet in Luke 14:15.
“Whenever we talk about scattering or gathering… what really makes that a ministry is when we care for one another,” said Anderson, senior pastor of Colonial Baptist Church in Randallstown, Md.
He described the prior situation in the Luke passage. The Pharisees had invited Jesus over. There He was, everybody looking at Him, trying to find some mistake with Him or His ministry. Knowing, Jesus took the issue at hand.
Anderson shared, “It was that Sabbath day issue that the Pharisees got all bent out of shape over.” Jesus asked the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath?” (Luke 15:3) and then He healed the man “on the Sabbath in the face of the Pharisees. Oh boy!”
The Pharisees didn’t say a word.
Calling attention to Jesus’ caring heart, Anderson said, “While He was making this issue with the Pharisees, and healing this man on the Sabbath, it’s the fact that He healed this man…out of a heart of love.”
People are not always going to be concerned what your message is, but they will respond if they see something in your heart that says, “I love you,” he said.
Later in the passage (Luke 15:7), Jesus noticed how the guests were picking places at the table. Jesus saw the Pharisees were trying to have the best seats. Anderson noted, “I am going to tell you what can hurt a convention… a church … a ministry, when we’ve got people squabbling over positions.”
Alternatively, the “way you show your dignity is to be a servant,” Anderson said, much as Jesus advised: “Don’t go and get the best seats because you don’t want to be embarrassed” if someone else more important is asked to take that seat instead (Luke 15:8-9).
“We’re living in a day of celebritism and everybody is a big shot,” Anderson observed. “I’m sorry. That’s the wrong attitude. In fact, to have that attitude, you’ve put yourself in a very special club—called the Pharisees!”
Anderson then pointed to how Jesus advised his listeners to have an “open home” (Luke 15:12-13), inviting the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.
“When’s the last time you intentionally threw a party…” for these groups? “Now, you’re looking like a Christian!” he exclaimed. “Jesus here challenges us to have an open home and an open heart.”
In the parable that follows, Jesus shared how many people were invited to the banquet. “The host of this banquet, by way of illustration, is God Himself,” Anderson explained. “And God is creating a fellowship in which He is inviting people to come… for everything is ready!”
But people gave excuses—bought a field, oxen, was just married—so they didn’t come.
“When you realize God is calling you… there is no room for excuses,” Anderson said. “Can you imagine standing before God and saying, ‘God, I didn’t go, I didn’t witness, I didn’t love by sharing the Gospel, I didn’t…?’” Yet, the servant is called to go out and share, “There is still room” (Luke 14:22).
“And, the turkey is ready,” Anderson concluded. “How many people are coming? They won’t come unless we go out and invite them.”