“And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.’” (Luke 14:23)
The story I’m about to tell you was seen through many eyes; mine only catching the end. Our mission team began the day delivering food boxes in five teams made up of five or six people each. The church members at Immanuel Baptist had already scouted out the houses, so all we had to do is knock and hope for an answer. We spent around an hour with each family; we shared stories, food, and most importantly, we shared the Gospel.
One group encountered sudden disappointment. The houses they were suppose to deliver boxes to were closer than they anticipated, so their adventure ended early. This meant they saw less of San Judas, Nicaragua than they had envisioned. So with hanging heads, they returned to the church and waited for the other groups to arrive, unaware what God was about to do through them.
Around the corner sat the town drunk, who on this day was welcomed with love and compassion, an unusual change of pace for him. As the group reached out to him, they invited him to come to church, not sure if he could stumble his way there if he wanted to. Across the street stood a woman, who lived less than 20 yards from the church, who was meet with the same love and compassion. The group invited her to come to church as well.
Fast forward to 6:30pm…service begins and the gospel is preached. Sinners are invited to come and receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. And at that moment, the town drunk stood up and walked to the back of the sanctuary, got a drink of water out of the barrel by the bathroom, then turned around and began down the aisle to receive Jesus, and through Jesus a place in the Kingdom to come. Behind him came the woman from earlier, it was her first time in church, and she too repented and believed the Gospel.
In the parable in Luke 14, those who are invited (the respectable guest) make excuses and refuse to come to the banquet. So the master tells his servants to go out to the highways and byways and invite people who were not originally on the guest list; to invite those who are not so clean and respectable.
So on Sunday afternoon in Nicaragua, our teams went to the highways and byways to invite the outcast and sinners, and to our surprise, they came. But they didn’t just come to the feast, they came to Master, and in Him they found the true feast they had been looking for their whole lives.