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Day 19: Guess when the prize is given

September 4, 2018

1The juniors and seniors are off-campus at a retreat, so the GCA population is half of what it would usually be.  For some reason, this elicits more conversation among the sophomores in class; I believe it is because technically they are the oldest on campus and they seem to have more of a thoughtful way about them.  It’s good, because today we hit the post-Labor Day schedule pretty hard.  I am trying to get my students to zero in on some very important points in the area of Ouranology: the doctrine of Heaven.  We were talking about Christ’s discourse on Heaven today in Bible doctrines class.  Bill read aloud the “lunch passage” in Luke 14 where the Pharisees – while eating lunch – were being schooled by Jesus about who was really heading to Heaven.

Bill cleared his throat and read Luke 14, verses 15-24.

“When one of those who were reclining at the table with Him heard this, he said to Him, ‘Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God.’  But Jesus said to him, ‘A man was giving a feast and invited many.  And at the dinner hour he sent his slaves to say to those who had been invited, “Come for everything is ready now,” but they all alike began to make excuses.  

First one said to him, “I’ve bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it.  Please consider me excused.” 

Another one said, “I have bought five yoke of oxen and I’m going to try them out.  Please consider me excused.” 

Another one said, “I have married a wife and for that reason I cannot come.”  And the slave came back and reported this to his master.  

Then the head of the household became angry and said to his slave, “Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and crippled and blind and lame.”  Then the slave said, “Master, what you have commanded has been done and still there is room.”  

And the master said to the slave, “Go out into the highways and along the hedges and compel them to come in so that my house may be filled.  For I tell you none of those men who were invited shall taste of my dinner.”’”

Anna chuckled at the thought that a man would use marriage as an excuse not to go to a huge feast.  Tom liked the idea of Jesus giving a story with a smack-in-the-mouth directness that left no stone unturned:  if you did not answer the invitation, you were totally left out.

“Note this,” I said, “that the feast was given no specific time to begin.  In those days, the event would not need an exact hour. In the slower-moving villages of those days the event was well-known in its eventual appearance.  People would be watching it grow in its creation and preparation.  They just had to be ready for it to be complete and obey the invitation.”

Before I continued with the next item of study I held up a bag of candy – along with a nice little sack of Cheez-Its.  “And now it is time for me to give away some goodies.   Look at my treasure here.”  Simon almost drooled; he was at a sugar low so late in the morning.

“Only the person or persons who can correctly guess at which time I will give this away will get the treats.  Write down the exact minute you think I will give this away.  If you are on the mark, you win.”  Everyone wrote down their guess.

Ten minutes later I held up the candy.  “It is 10:56 a.m.  and I am giving away the treasure.  Who had 10:56 a.m.?”   Carl and Meredith both tied, so I split the stash.

“You all took a guess at the reward time, but only two got it right,” I said.  “What is the parallel here?”

“That nobody really knows when the best treasure will occur,” said Andy.  “You know, when Jesus Christ comes back.  People will make excuses, but in the end, you gotta be ready.  Because nobody knows the time.”

He grinned.  I grinned back.

The message got through.


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