To the Grieving Person Whose Loved Ones Decline Their Invitation to Dinner
Sadly, there are times when we have invited folks to Thanksgiving dinner, and our invitation has been declined. Folks usually simply want to feel “happy” at the holidays. Going to dinner at the home of someone who is grieving is not where some want to be; it’s not their idea of a fun time.
They may attempt to graciously bow out with a variety of excuses and reasons for turning down your invitation. It hurts when this occurs. We are very aware of the fact that we are not the same upbeat jovial people we once were. Our energy is running on empty, and our eyes have lost their shine. Salty tears will do that to a person. It doesn’t matter that you have always prepared the greatest dinners in the past. Folks do not want to be reminded by that empty chair at the table, though it is impossible for us to ignore it and forget… nor do we want to forget.
In Luke 15, Jesus spoke a Parable which He so often did. He describes a great feast prepared for folks and how invitations were sent out:
The Parable of the Great Supper
15 Now when one of those who sat at the table with Him heard these things, he said to Him, “Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!”
16 Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, 17 and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ 18 But they all with one accord
began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of
ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ 20 Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’ 23 Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’”
Now it is not explained to us the reason why all of these folks declined the invitation and seemingly had more important things to do than to attend this Feast, but what we do know is the Host became angry because of their refusal to attend. I find it interesting that He did not succumb to feeling hurt or rejected when His invitation was not accepted. Rather, He decided to extend His invitation to others. He took action and had others, described as those suffering in some manner, brought to His Home. When there was still room for more, he sent out His servants to “compel” others, seemingly complete strangers, to come to His House.
“Compel” is defined as: “To exert a strong, irresistible force on; sway” (search). The word in the original Greek is: anagkazó; anagkazó: to necessitate, compel; anagkázō – to compel (constrain), doing so with urgency (as a pressing necessity). In other words, the Master of this House sent out an invitation folks simply could not refuse.
If you are alone this Holiday and are feeling the additional grief of your invitations being declined, know that God “gets it.” He has also had His invitations refused. Please know that a better banquet awaits you. Please RSVP.
Jude’s book, “Gifts from the Ashes,” is available at Direct Textbook.
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Getty image by Tom Merton
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