The word of the Lord was addressed to me as follows: ‘I mean to display the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned among them. And the nations will learn that I am the Lord–it is the Lord who speaks– when I display my holiness for your sake before their eyes. Then I am going to take you from among the nations and gather you together from all the foreign countries, and bring you home to your own land. I shall pour clean water over you and you will be cleansed; I shall cleanse you of all your defilement and all your idols. I shall give you a new heart, and put a new spirit in you; I shall remove the heart of stone from your bodies and give you a heart of flesh instead. I shall put my spirit in you, and make you keep my laws and sincerely respect my observances. You will live in the land which I gave your ancestors. You shall be my people and I will be your God.’
Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people, ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a feast for his son’s wedding. He sent his servants to call those who had been invited, but they would not come. Next he sent some more servants. “Tell those who have been invited” he said “that I have my banquet all prepared, my oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, everything is ready. Come to the wedding.” But they were not interested: one went off to his farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his servants, maltreated them and killed them. The king was furious. He despatched his troops, destroyed those murderers and burnt their town. Then he said to his servants, “The wedding is ready; but as those who were invited proved to be unworthy, go to the crossroads in the town and invite everyone you can find to the wedding.” So these servants went out on to the roads and collected together everyone they could find, bad and good alike; and the wedding hall was filled with guests. When the king came in to look at the guests he noticed one man who was not wearing a wedding garment, and said to him, “How did you get in here, my friend, without a wedding garment?” And the man was silent. Then the king said to the attendants, “Bind him hand and foot and throw him out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.” For many are called, but few are chosen.’
“… many are invited but few are chosen”
Nobody likes being taken for granted or disrespected. When was the last time you sent out an invite or asked someone out on a date, only to have them say to you, “I’ll play it by ear and see what happens”. If you really meant something to that someone, they would jump at the chance to be with you, wouldn’t they? Why would they need to see if something better was going to come along? Then when you ask them again, because you have to firm up numbers, they snap at you, “Oh please stop hassling me!”. Honestly, how rude! Did you feel like never speaking to them again?
This morning, Jesus uses the parable of the wedding guests to illustrate a profound truth – our capacity to disrespect God and take Him for granted. The King (figuratively, God) is disrespected, first by the original guests to the banquet (the Jews), and then by the man who was invited off the street (figuratively, the Gentiles), who decided he could show up unprepared for the occasion. Many are called but few are chosen. Many know about the banquet and what is expected of them, but few prepare their hearts accordingly. Maybe we think we still have time. Or maybe we have become too busy, and left our spiritual life to one side. Maybe we think God will always be there, it can wait. Maybe we haven’t been to church in awhile because we’re angry with someone there, and can’t find it in our hearts to forgive and move on. Like the wedding guest caught unprepared, there is no explanation that will suffice when confronted by God. We cannot say, I’m sorry there just wasn’t the time, or that it was never convenient, or that we were overwhelmed by life, or that we never made peace with ourselves and others. There is no explanation worthy of Him. There can only be silence… and then the ordeal of being cast out from His kingdom.
So are we taking Him for granted in our lives? Have we given enough of our love, our effort and our time to Him? If we were taken today, would we be ready for the wedding banquet that awaits all faithful believers?
(Today’s OXYGEN by Sharon Soo)
Prayer: We pray for the fortitude to remain faithful in heart, in thought and in deed to Him.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for the fellowship of other believers who keep us faithful when we stray from the path to the wedding feast.