“For, I tell you, none of those men who were invited will taste my dinner.” (Luke 14:24)
As I write this, our family is in the final stages of planning and preparing for our daughter, Lauren's, wedding. The reality is that my wife, Betty, and Lauren are doing all the planning. Basically, my role is to stay out of the way and write the checks as needed. I also learned early on that they will ask me for my opinion, but they don't really want to hear it! Joking aside, they've done a wonderful job, and preparation is nearly complete. The invitations have been sent, and the response cards are being returned. Each time a card arrives in the mail, we either feel joy that someone special to us will be attending, or sadness that they are unable to share the occasion with us.
In Jesus' time, it was the custom to send two invitations for a special event. The first would announce the occasion, and the second would tell the guests everything was ready. The guests in this parable insulted the host by making excuses when he issued the second invitation. Israel did the same thing. God's first invitation came from Moses and the prophets, and it was accepted by the religious leaders because they believed that God had called them to be His people. The second invitation came from God's Son, and the religious leaders insulted God by refusing to accept Him.
Are we guilty, too? Do we resist or delay responding to God's invitation because the timing is inconvenient or comes in a way we don't want or expect? Do we make excuses that we are too busy, using excuses such as financial issues, work duties or family responsibilities? God's invitation is the most important event of our life, even if it is inconveniently timed. Jesus reminds us that the time will come when God will pull His invitation and offer it to others. Then, it will be too late to join Him in the great feast. I have already accepted my invitation and sent my RSVP. I pray I see you there.