The Great Supper
by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut
Jesus said also to the ruler who had invited him, "When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, or your brothers, or those who are your relatives, or your rich neighbors, for they may invite you in turn, and thus you will be repaid. No, when you give a dinner, invite the poor, the cripples, those who have lost an arm, and the blind. Then God will give you his blessing; for these people cannot repay you; and you will receive your reward when God raises up the good from their graves to everlasting life."
One of those at the table heard these words of Jesus; and he spoke out,
"Happy will he be who shall sit down at that feast in the kingdom of God!"
Jesus answered him by giving the parable of
"The Supper and the Excuses."
"There was once a man who was giving a great supper, to which he had invited many of his friends. At the hour for the supper, he sent out his servant to say to the guests who had been invited, 'Come at once, for everything is now ready!' But all of them with one mind began to decline his invitation. The first man said to the servant:
"'I have bought some land, and I must go and look at it. Please to
"The second said, 'I have bought five pair of oxen, and I am going to
give them a trial. Please to have me excused.'
"Another said, 'I cannot come, because I have just married a wife.'
"The servant went home and told his master all these answers. Then the master of the house was very angry. He said to his servant:
"'Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town, and bring in here the poor, the cripples, the blind and the lame.'
"Soon the servant came back, saying, 'Your orders have been carried out, sir; but there is still room for more.'
"'Go out into the country,' said the master of the house, 'to the roads and the hedges, and make the people come in, to fill up my house; for I tell you that not one of those that were invited shall taste of my supper.'"