'Come,' he said, 'for all things are ready.'
But all those who had been invited began to make excuses.
The first replied: 'I have just purchased a piece of land, and I must go and look at it again. Please have me excused.'
The second said: 'I have just purchased a herd of cattle, and I must go and examine it. Please have me excused.'
A third answered: 'I have recently been married, and for this, I cannot attend.'
Finally, the servant returned and reported what had happened. Hearing the disappointing news, the master commanded:
'Go quickly into the streets of the city, and gather the poor, the lame, the ill and the blind.'
The servant hurried to do this, and soon returned, saying: 'Sir, I have done as you commanded, and still there is room at the table.'
'Go then,' the rich man replied, 'along the highways and among the fields, and urge those you meet to come in, that my table might be filled. For I say to you: none of those that were originally invited will taste of the banquet that I had prepared for them.'"
My Aunt just passed away.
Hours before she did I received a distressful call from my cousin Connie. A well meaning neighbor -- at least we can only hope she is well meaning -- suggested that, as my aunt lay taking her last breaths, Connie should consider that her mom's recent lack of church attendance should (I'm not making this up) cause grave concern about her eternal resting place....
I wept. And maybe tasted a bit of the disappointment Jesus felt when people get focused on the wrong things. He came to proclaim the wonder-filled possibility of Oneness with the richness of His Father's splendor.
But since most of us, and I say most of us in the sense of everyone who's never dwelt in the Eternal Glory of the Creator God, have never experienced anything quite like that in our mortal existence, we regard that news with an, um, earthy earthiness (not sure exactly what that means, but it kind of makes sense...) Kind of like the guy who's just announced that you've won the Powerball Jackpot and you just sit there in a sort of stupor not sure how to comprehend.
But that never seems to stop some from ruining the party for others. Depending on your particular theological backdrop you could substitute any number of crucial litmus tests for passage into the Pearly Gates:
- "Did she say the penitent's prayer?"
- "Was she covered by the blood?"
- "Did she accept Jesus as her Lord AND Savior?"
- "Did she believe in the virgin birth?"
- "Did she believe in this version of the atonement?"
So my question to the self-appointed gatekeepers: If someone at some point in their life accepts His tender invitation to come to the banquet, who are you to add your own indulgences to admission?
Is it not hard enough, with all the distractions in life, to get
|image from deesbbbanquet.blogspot.com|
But our part is simply to invite and gather. Not determine their worthiness to come in...If we can't trust the Preparer of the Party to rejoice in our repentance, wrap us in His robes of righteousness and make us worthy then maybe we're at the wrong address. Serving the wrong Master!