The New Guest List

When an Atlanta charity got a call from the Fowler family, inviting 200 homeless to the upscale Villa Christina restaurant for a four-course meal last Sunday, they thought it was just a practical (read: cruel) joke at first. (Source: New York Daily News)

200 of Atlanta's homeless enjoying a four-course meal at a premiere restaurant.
Image source: New York Daily News

But it wasn’t a joke. The “kind-hearted Atlanta couple made the best out of a bad situation by donating their daughter’s canceled wedding reception to the homeless.” (Ibid) According to Carol Fowler, the mother of the bride, “It was my husband’s idea. … We prayed about it. And when he woke up the next morning, [Willie] said, ‘We’re going to call Hosea Feed the Hungry and ask if we can donate it to the needy.’” (Ibid) And donate they did.

The food presentation, the gold plates and crystals reportedly overwhelmed the “guests.” According to Elisabeth Omilami, CEO of the charity, “The passed hors d’oeuvre were very interesting because the children were wondering, ‘could we take the whole tray, or do we just take one off of the tray?’ … So this was an educational opportunity as well, because now they all know how to eat at a four-course meal and the etiquette involved in that.” (Ibid)

The children were wondering, "‘could we take the whole tray, or do we just take one off of the tray?" Image source: New York Daily News
The couple did not say why the nuptial of their daughter, Tamara, did not push through. But even the supposed-to-be bride enjoyed the event called “The First Annual Fowler Family Celebration of Love.” Mrs. Fowler said, “We’re very pleased that she’s handling it so well. She was delighted to see and know others had an opportunity to enjoy something, rather than allow it to go to waste.” (Ibid) In fact, they plan to do it again next year.
Willie Fowler (in black), his wife Carol (in blue) and their daughter Tamara (in red). Image source: New York Daily News
When I read about that, I thought of a similar feast in the Bible. The banquet pushed through as planned. But “those who had been invited… began to make excuses.” (Luke 14:17a, 18a, ESV) They gave unacceptable reasons. One of them said, “I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.” (v. 18b) Who would buy a real estate property without first seeing it? Another gave this alibi: “‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.” (v. 19) Who would buy a car without test-driving it first? The third guest said, “‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.” (v. 20) Can’t he bring his wife with him to the banquet instead? Surely, the host would not mind at all. 

Understandably, the host got furious. They can’t fool him. They just didn’t want to go to the banquet. So, he commanded his servants “Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame. … Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.” (vv. 21, 23) He wouldn’t allow the feast to go to waste just because there are those who don’t want to enjoy it.

Jesus gives people the opportunity to know Him. He doesn’t want his offer of salvation to be wasted. But there are people who would rather give alibis than go for it. “The excuses seemed good to those who gave them, but they were inadequate for refusing Jesus’ kingdom offer. Nothing was so important as accepting His offer of the kingdom, for one’s entire destiny rests on his response to that offer.”* So, what are your excuses? What’s keeping you from putting your faith on our Lord Jesus as your Savior?

My take? Respond to His invitation. Don’t reject it.

* John A. Martin, “Luke” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament, ed. John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck and Dallas Theological Seminary (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983, 1985), 243.


  1. Anonymous5:15 PM

    What if i live in Jesus's time? will i respond to His invitation? Hmmmm?


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