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The Parable of
THE GREAT SUPPER
Hank and Margaret were excited. This would be their first Thanksgiving in their new, large house. Margaret was sold on the huge kitchen and dining room, while Hank was partial to the extra-large den. It was sizable enough for their big-screen TV, with plenty of seating for guests. They had been looking forward to a Thanksgiving feast for all their children, their spouses, and all the grandchildren. In anticipation, they had bought a lot of new furniture with their savings account, so that everyone could fit comfortably around the dining room table, then the men could retire to the den to watch the football games.
Understandably, it was a bitter disappointment when their oldest son, Eddie, called to cancel.
“I’m sorry, Dad”, Eddie said, “but escrow is closing on our house, and we have to move to our new place that weekend. Don’t worry, though; we’ll be there for Christmas.”
Hank hung up with a sigh and broke the news to Margaret. Before she had a chance to react, the phone rang again; this time, Margaret answered. It was their daughter, Beatrice.
“Hi, Mom”, Beatrice said.
“Hello, Honey”, said her mother. “What time shall we expect you?”
“That’s why I’m calling”, said Beatrice. “My car broke down and I traded it in for another used one, and I’m not sure it can make the trip. I haven’t had the chance to test it yet, and I don’t want to risk going on a long trip with it, especially on a holiday weekend. What would I do if it broke down on the freeway?”
“I understand, Dear”, said Margaret. “What about the train? Your father could pick you up at the train station.”
“I don’t want to leave my car at the train depot all weekend. Car thieves lurk at places like that. Don’t worry, though; Christmas is right around the corner, and I’ll be there for sure.”
As Margaret hung up the phone, she dreaded having to tell Hank. But with one look at him, she could tell he already knew.
“We’d better call Robbie to make sure he and Ellen are coming”, Hank said as he placed the call. He was hoping his son would pick up the phone, but his daughter-in-law answered instead.
“Hello, Ellen”, Hank said. “How are the newlyweds?”
“We’re doing fine”, said Ellen, cheerfully. “How’s the new house?”
“Big and empty”, replied Hank. “Eddie and Beatrice can’t make it for Thanksgiving. I’m just calling to make sure you and Robbie are still coming.”
“Oh”, Ellen said. “Robbie hasn’t called you yet? I’d better let you talk to him.”
During the pause, Hank knew what was coming.
“Uh, Dad?” said Robbie.
“Don’t tell me”, Hank said. “You’re not coming.”
“I’m sorry, Dad”, said Robbie. “I told you we’d be there before I spoke to Ellen. It turns out that Thanksgiving is a huge holiday with her family.”
“It is with us, too”, his father reminded him.
“Well”, said Robbie, “we had a big fight about it, and we worked it out by deciding to go to her parents’ house for Thanksgiving, and your place for Christmas.”
“When were you planning on telling us?” Hank demanded. “We already bought a ton of food.”
“Save it for Christmas”, Robbie said. “Freeze it. We’ll be there with bells on.”
“Humph”, said Hank as he hung up. “They’ll be here with bells on.”
“That’s wonderful!” said Margaret.
“For Christmas, not Thanksgiving”, Hank explained.
“Oh, no!” said Margaret. “What are we going to so with all this food?”
“Robbie said to freeze it”, Hank commented.
“It won’t be fresh for Christmas”, said Margaret.
“It won’t have to”, said Hank. “We’re going to have a great Thanksgiving feast.”
“We can’t eat all this food by ourselves”, Margaret said.
“So, we’ll get on the phone to all the people we each know at work”, explained Hank. “All of our friends and neighbors, too. We’ll find out if anyone is spending Thanksgiving alone, and invite them over here.”
“That’s a great idea”, said Margaret.
They made all the calls they could think of, but only came up with two people.
“I guess we’ll just have a cozy little gathering for our first holiday here”, said Margaret.
“Not if I can help it”, said Hank with a smile. “Honey, there are thousands of people all over the city with no family and no food. If we go out and find people, our house will be filled.
We can start the holiday season with a bang!”
“How will we find them?” asked Margaret.
“Faith”, said Hank. “Just cook all the food we have. I’ll go out on Thanksgiving morning and find them. I’ll have this house full. After all, that’s the real meaning of this holiday.”
Hank was right. The house was not only full of people, it was filled with the Spirit of Thanksgiving as well. It was the best Thanksgiving they ever had.
THE GREAT SUPPER (Luke 14:6-24)
“A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ 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.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 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.’ And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room. 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. For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.”