Accepting the Invitation

Written by Bonita Cadle

Read Luke 14 16:24. Jesus tells a parable of a man who gave a great banquet, but most of the people he invited refused his invitation. They made excuse after excuse as to why they couldn’t come. Have you ever made an excuse as to why you couldn’t RSVP “yes” to an invitation? Is it obvious to you why Jesus tells this story?


In October of 2014, if you would have asked me what Jesus was referring to in this parable, I would not have had a clue. I was not a Christian then, and had not attended church since my sons were very young. We were too busy living the dream: travelling, sports, and making that money. We had many excuses and reasons why we couldn’t attend church, many.


Well, in November of 2014 some dear friends talked me into attending a weekend Christian retreat with them called The Great Banquet. I was very reluctant, nervous, and didn’t want to go, but I didn’t want to disappoint my friends either. I did not want to be stuck in a church at some Holy Roller, kumbaya thing for three days and three nights! I had more important things to do, or so I thought.


You see, I had received numerous other invitations to sit at the table with the Lord, but I had so many excuses as to why I couldn’t (or wouldn’t). Because of my many “No” RSVPs I was now on the poor, crippled, blind and lame list. My friends were the master’s servants. I hadn’t listened to the Lord’s many callings; my life was too busy and noisy. My friends knew that I needed help and they themselves had to drag me to this retreat. Why are we so “pig-headed” sometimes?


During this banquet, my mind got very quiet, my walls started coming down, my heart softened, and the noise of the outside seemed to disappear. I was able to really hear what the ladies were talking about at this banquet. I was able to introspect and think about my life and my relationship, in this case a lack of, with God. It can be so hard to just be quiet and spend time with God in today’s world.


I realized three huge things (actually more) during this weekend. First, I needed a relationship with Jesus to survive this life. When my mother (my best friend) died in 1995 I was broken. In spite of having friends, a wonderful husband, and two amazing sons, I had a nervous breakdown. I was not equipped to handle that crisis.


Secondly, I needed a church family and friends. I also needed to be surrounded by the body of Christ in order to survive this life. The Godly women who became my friends that weekend and the friends I have made through Wesley Chapel have made a HUGE difference in my life.


And thirdly, I need to be able to see the Godly light of Jesus in people around me, and I need to be a light for them in their times of need. I would have NEVER thought I could be a light for others! Me?


Three months after my Great Banquet weekend my father had a stroke. It was a scary, trying, and exhausting situation that continued until he died on October 25, 2019. But you know what? The most amazing thing happened. I was able to be a light for him in his darkness. He confessed his belief in Jesus Christ and was baptized before he died at the age of 80. He became a member of Wesley Chapel and is now with my mom in heaven. Amen!!!


On February 27, 2021 I lost my sweet husband Cliff to Covid-19. While I still struggle at times, I know without a doubt that my life also would have ended shortly after his if it were not for my relationship with Jesus and my Godly friends.


We all have a story, but I want you to hear me clearly and understand, if I hadn’t finally sat at the table with the Lord, I would still be a mess or not be writing this at all and my father would not have made it to heaven. Isn’t that amazing?


If you have not accepted your invitation to the Lord’s banquet please RSVP ASAP. Or if you know someone who’s struggling, invite him or her to the table with you. Be the light they need to see.


God Bless.

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