Jesus responded by speaking again in parables: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding party for his son. He sent his servants to call those invited to the wedding party. But they didn’t want to come. Again he sent other servants and said to them, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Look, the meal is all prepared. I’ve butchered the oxen and the fattened cattle. Now everything’s ready. Come to the wedding party!” ’ But they paid no attention and went away—some to their fields, others to their businesses. The rest of them grabbed his servants, abused them, and killed them. “The king was angry. He sent his soldiers to destroy those murderers and set their city on fire. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding party is prepared, but those who were invited weren’t worthy. Therefore, go to the roads on the edge of town and invite everyone you find to the wedding party.’ “Then those servants went to the roads and gathered everyone they found, both evil and good. The wedding party was full of guests. Now when the king came in and saw the guests, he spotted a man who wasn’t wearing wedding clothes. He said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ But he was speechless. Then the king said to his servants, ‘Tie his hands and feet and throw him out into the farthest darkness. People there will be weeping and grinding their teeth.’ “Many people are invited, but few people are chosen” (Matthew 22:1-14, Common English Bible).
Robert Fulghum is a pastor and author. He is most famous for his book, Everything I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, but he has written several others. In his second book, It Was On Fire When I Lay Down On It, he tells the story of the MOTB (the Mother of the Bride) which quite possibly is the funniest thing I have ever read. But, I digress. Read it for yourself sometime.
At the beginning of the story Fulghum says, “Weddings are high state occasions involving amateurs under pressure. Everything never goes right.” Most any pastor I know will tell you, Fulghum is correct.
Our lesson today is just such an occasion. As a high state occasion (and with this being the wedding of a king’s son, it really would be a high state occasion), everyone would be dressed in the best they owned. Today, if this were a formal wedding, most people would be in formal gowns or tuxedos. At the very least they would be in nice dresses and suits and ties.
The proud father, the king, looks out at the crowd and he sees someone who, not only isn’t wearing a tuxedo, he is in an old worn-out t-shirt and blue jeans with grease stains and holes in the knees. While the king really isn’t pleased with what he sees, I can’t help but think, the thought had to run through the king’s mind, “Well, I did send the servants out to invite everyone, rich and poor alike. Maybe this guy is really poor and blue jeans and a t-shirt are all he has.” So he wanders out to check the guy out. He finds the guy did have other stuff, he just didn’t care enough to change. He never took the invitation, the offer, seriously.
That is the thing for a lot of people look at what God offers, we say we want it, but then we don’t take the offer seriously. We don’t participate in the life of the Church. We don’t serve anyone but ourselves. We don’t study. We don’t pray. We aren’t wearing our wedding clothes.
So many say, “I don’t need to go to church and the church is only full of hypocrites who want my money.” They are right, the church is full of hypocrites. Another way of saying it is, the church is full of sinners who need grace.
Recently I heard it said, “You can’t say you love Jesus and not love His body, the Church.” I think that quote is spot on.
So, we need to get serious and take the invitation God has given to us and live it out in ways that communicate to God we are wearing our wedding garment. In other words, we need to take God’s invitation seriously.
Friends, I for one do not want to be caught not wearing my tuxedo. How about you?
What do your wedding clothes look like?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved