I once briefly pastored a church where the ushers held the doors closed against someone they didn’t want to come in. Needless to say, the place was closed – just like it’s doors – not long after.
Who do we let in? Who do we keep out? Who will go out?
“Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.”
“‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’
“Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.’ ” Luke 14:21-23
Christian Community is compelling.
Jesus told this story because the ones invited were too busy to come. Too busy with their own business and relationships and life to join the Master in a party He had prepared just for them. “Go get the least, the outcasts…” He tells his servant. Not enough? “Go up and down the streets and compel them to come in, so My house will be full.”
God is yearning for community. But not a gated community. Not a community full of houses all looking the same with white picket fences and two car garages.
Jesus’ community is a huge mish-mash of yurts and huts and tepees and apartments and prisons and hospitals and cardboard boxes and group homes and double-wides and split levels and, yes, even ocean front estates (where else would we all go for fun?).
Jesus’ community compels the overlooked and ignored and hands them a plate full of love and compassion and invites them to dig in.
Jesus’ community makes sure that everyone has enough, and no one too much, so that the dignity of all is restored.
Jesus’ community opens the door wide and compels all takers to enter in and become a part – instead of being a part.
Jesus’ community loves each one, takes offense at no one, thanks God for the mess, and goes right back out to compel more in.
Jesus’ community knows that it is of the utmost importance to make the time and effort to compel those outside the camp into His house.
It is a privilege entrusted to us by God as believers.
It is an honor to fill His house.
Let the party begin.