My son Tim came home last week carrying a small envelop. It was a birthday invite and his first in his first year of pre-school. He was so happy and excited about his invitation that he did not put it down all throughout the weekend. When he took a nap, he held it. When he woke up, it was the first thing he asked and looked for (for it might have gotten under the pillows). Believe me friends, that invitation was ALL he held and thought about until the day, Monday, that he went back to school carrying his gift for the celebrant.
I was amused by his attitude. And while I stroked his forehead to get him to sleep, him holding his precious invitation, I pondered on Luke 14:16-24: The Parable of the Great Supper, which Hannah and I read and discussed in our nightly Bible Study a few days before Tim came home with his invitation.
The master has made everything ready for his great supper: he had the special invitations printed and sent out to all that were in his guest list. He went to great lengths to prepare the menu. He wanted that, when all his guests sit down in the banquet he has prepared, they would feel special: loved and cared for.
But none of those that were invited came. Everyone had an excuse. And this made the master very angry.
I think about my loved ones: siblings, relatives and friends. How long have I been extending to them the Master’s invitation? It’s been years! I believe you have the same burden as I have. The Master has sent us to give out His invitation: His Gospel of salvation so that they, too, would one day sit down in God’s banquet and eat bread in the kingdom of heaven. But they wouldn’t budge. Everyone of them has his/her own excuse. But the most dangerous one is their claim that they know God, they serve Him in their own way (generally what they have been taught in “the traditions and doctrines of men”), and that they are righteous in their own eyes.
This reminds me of that haughty Pharisee, standing and praying before God justifying himself. But in the eyes of God, he was not at all justified, for he relied on his own righteousness and not the righteousness that is of God (Luke 18:11-14). Sadly, there are many “Pharisees” around us.
And then, there are the “tax collectors and harlots” which the Lord spoke of, to be entering the kingdom of God before those who were invited first, for they believed, repented, and received the Gospel when they heard it (Mat. 21:32). I remember the NPA (New People’s Army) rebels who kept the invitation/leaflet when it was given to them. And they hiked down the mountains from where they are hiding, heard the Gospel of salvation, and received it with humility and gladness, surrendering themselves to be baptized in the name of Jesus. (I wrote about that here).
The greatest obstacle for many to receive God’s invitation – His Gospel of salvation – is the belief that they are doing good in their own lives and all is well with them before God. Where there is lack of humility and true knowledge of God, self-righteousness will reign in one’s life. And the bad news is – self-righteousness will NEVER save anyone.
If only everyone would receive the invitation just like Tim received, kept and cherished his birthday invite, and promptly showed up on the day of the party! Isn’t this what the Lord talks about in Matthew 18:3?
“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Linked to A Holy Experience, Brag on God Friday, Encourage My Heart, Spiritual Sundays, State of the Heart, Teach Me Tuesday, Teaching What is Good, The Beauty in His Grip, Titus 2sdays, Women in the Word Wednesday, Women Living Well