As I hope you heard last Sunday, the theme for this year’s Global Partner Emphasis is “An Invitation from the King.” It’s taken from Jesus’ parable of the great banquet. When the invited nobility refused to come to his banquet, the master sent his servants into the streets to invite the damaged and despised, “the poor and crippled and blind and lame.”
For some reason, this theme reminds me of the story of Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 4, 9). Who? Mephibosheth was the son of David’s best friend, Jonathan, and the grandson of king Saul, who had often tried to kill David. After Saul and Jonathan were killed in battle, David became the king of Israel. In that day, it was not unusual for the new king to eliminate the entire family of the previous king along with anyone else who might hold loyalties to that former king. Fearing David might do the same thing, Mephibosheth’s nurse picked up the five-year-old and ran. In her haste, she dropped him, crippling him in both feet. She took him to a town far from Jerusalem, hiding him and teaching him to fear David.
Years later, rather than intending harm for Saul’s family, King David wondered aloud if there was anyone left of his family to whom he could show kindness for Jonathan’s sake. A man who had been a servant in the court of Saul had apparently stayed in touch with Mephibosheth and knew where he was. When he told David what he knew, David immediately sent his servants to find Mephibosheth and invite him and compel him to come to Jerusalem. When he was brought before the king, he was frightened. But rather than punish, threaten, or demean him, David restored to him all the lands that his grandfather, Saul had owned, gave him servants to work those lands, made him a member of his own household as though Mephibosheth were one of his sons, and promised to provide for him for the rest of his life.
Our king, Jesus, has commanded us his servants, to issue a similar invitation to the damaged and despised, to those who are spiritually poor and crippled and blind and lame, to all those who live far from his kingdom. Jesus is the greater David who intends no harm but only restoration and provision eternally for those who accept his invitation.
Our Global Partner Emphasis is our opportunity to honor those who have dedicated their lives to carrying that invitation to distant parts of the world, to affirm our alignment with them, and to demonstrate our support of them. Please join us in doing just that on Sunday.