Text: Luke 14:12-24, Deuteronomy 10:18-19, Exodus 23:6-9
So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.
– Deuteronomy 10:19, NASB
Aliens… I relate to the word. I feel so out of place at times.
Recently my husband was sitting across the table from me at our lovely, unsuspecting Italian restaurant. He pushed in close, but I didn’t have words to define the tears hitting the table. He knew. More than 2 years ago we prayed a prayer and its repercussions were everywhere.
“God—we will do anything.”
Our anythings seemed to be costing us everything. Nothing about our previously sane lives was the same. Over the previous year we had given up all control, and God had taken us up on those simple, naive little words.
Since we prayed, God led us deeper into the lives of the people He loved and further from the safety of the familiar. That night I wondered… Should we take back our prayer?
If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. (Matthew 16:25)
Freedom and healing hide in the backwards way God tells us to find life.
Die to live. Lose to find. Empty yourself to be filled.
In Luke 14, Jesus describes a banquet. It is beautifully spread out. Everyone has been invited. But as the host prepares to welcome his friends, he realizes everyone has made an excuse of some sort. And no one comes.
Disappointed, he sends his servant out into the streets to go get the poor, the crippled—the blind and the lame. The servant goes and gets them all, bringing them to the incredible banquet, but there is still room. Room for more.
The master then tells his servant,
“Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.”
Can you imagine his servant? How nervous and excited and confused he must feel leaving the banquet and running for the least likely party candidates. His master sends him for those who won’t take love for granted.
We get to be part of giving people God.
God’s economy makes beautiful exchanges: as we give, we grow. You do not risk like a fool; you are wisely investing in the only two things that will not die: God and people’s souls.
Just like the master to his servant, God whispers through the words of Scripture to us.
Run on; go get my people. Go to the crippled, the poor, the blind, the lame—they know they need Me. They will come. And after they come, run out to the highway and grab whoever you can—the gates are flung open. Fill up my table!
Compel them! You were reconciled to me so that you can reconcile others to me. You are my ambassadors. I am making my appeal through you. Run on. (paraphrased portions of 2 Cor. 5:17-20)
No matter how uncomfortable and chaotic our lives seem to keep getting, Zac and I could never take back the words of that prayer. Yes, there are nights that tears hit the pillow or our Italian food. But it is worth it. Anything, God. This is life—running to the highways, arms waving, full of God and giving Him away. It is what we were built for, it is what we were saved for, and my heart feels most at home here, doing just this—loving my God and loving His people.
God is home to us, and helping others find their way home makes our journey here a little less alien-feeling, don’t you think?
Jennie Allen is the founder and visionary behind IF, a movement to gather, equip and unleash the next generation of women to live out their purpose. She is the author of Restless: Because You Were Made for More and Anything: The Prayer That Unlocked My God and My Soul. Jennie lives with her husband Zac and their four children in Austin, Texas.