We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. 1 John 4:19-21
So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. Matthew 22:10
As believers, the way we live our lives should be contagious to others. Culture should take notice of how we live free and be curious as to what drives this freedom. Unfortunately, many of us live as if following Jesus excludes us from having any fun. Rather than inviting everyone to the party, we act like bouncers, checking the credentials of anyone who dares to enter our space. We live as if there is some exclusive VIP section where only special individuals are allowed behind the velvet rope.
If we’re honest with ourselves, Christians are more often known for being party poppers rather than party starters. The closer we get to walking with Jesus, the easier it is to have smaller tables and bigger walls. If we’re not careful, our tables can shrink all in the name of godliness and holiness. When we respond this way, we break God’s heart and show a lack of understanding in the power the Gospel message holds.
We act like everyone is not invited to the party, but they are. Everyone has received an invitation. Jesus doesn’t segregate. He integrates. Instead of building a wall, Jesus is calling us to build a bigger table. Loving God affects how we love others. Loving others affects how we love God. Being a party starter is part of our DNA as Christ followers. Having experienced the love of Christ firsthand, we have been set free and that is reason to celebrate.
Jesus went to parties. Jesus told stories about parties. Jesus compared God’s Kingdom to a party. Jesus loved parties because he loved people. He understood that there is something that happens at a party that can’t happen anywhere else. It’s as if Jesus is saying, “Sometimes it takes a party.”
Sometimes it takes a party to change how we see each other. Sometimes it takes a party to demonstrate that God cares about people who party. Sometimes it takes a party to confirm we can always be forgiven. Sometimes it takes a party to prove that people matter more than opinions. Sometimes it takes a party to remind us that everyone is invited to the party.
Parties should be our priority. A party is any effort to celebrate, serve, or enjoy each other in a way that adds value to life. Our interactions with others should leave a positive impact. Our faith is meant to be lived. Every single time we gather people together is an act of worship because we are demonstrate how God cares and loves. Every table is an altar. There has never been a more important time in history than right now to start acting like we believe everyone is invited to the party. If we don’t learn to love and serve, the power of the church diminishes. But, what if we started acting like everyone is invited to the party?
- A party is any effort to celebrate, serve, or enjoy each other in a way that adds value. How can you be a party starter today?
God, let me celebrate I’ve been set free. But, in the midst of this celebration, may I remember You are asking me to share and express to others the same hope I’ve given. Let me invite everyone to the table so I can pursue understanding, hear their story and share the love of Christ with them. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.
This devotional was inspired by Stuart Hall’s talk from Part 1 of “Sometimes It Takes A Party.”