We have all heard the Matthew 22:14 verse: “Many are called, but few are chosen.” This always bothered me, because it just didn’t sound fair. If you were called and invited to a marriage feast, why wouldn’t they let you in? Wasn’t the invitation proof that you were already chosen to come to the festivities? And beneath this was the hidden fear that I might not be among the chosen.
“But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:11-14
But then I remembered my cousin Roger. One day, I received an official-looking envelope that said “The White House, Washington, D.C.” on the back. I opened it and discovered I was invited to a marriage feast celebrating the marriage of the beloved son of the President of the United States to his fiancée. Still uncertain as to whether it was real, I called the number listed for a RSVP and learned that a large banquet space was available, but many guests were unable to come (“Many are called, but few…”), so they were inviting regular citizens to attend.
A few days later I ran into my cousin Roger, a ne’er-do-well who always had a hard time keeping a job, going from one job to another, and one relationship to another due to his rebellious nature. Roger announced that he too received an invitation to the White House event, and he was going to go, wearing blue jeans and a flannel shirt in defiance of what he called “the formality and pretense” of this event. He was going to show his disdain for authority in a public manner, in spite of my objections.
The big day arrived, and I will always remember the solemnity of the occasion, of guests in their formal attire waiting expectantly at the White House entrance to be formally introduced. When it was Roger’s turn and he stepped forward with his invitation, the person in charge nodded to two large Secret Service agents, who grabbed Roger and immediately escorted him out of the building, ignoring his protestations.
They recognized that he did not grasp the importance of this event, treating it as if it were common. He did the unthinkable; by wearing ordinary clothes, he disrespected the event and the president. He was invited, but because of his insult, he was rejected.
And so it is with the Kingdom of Heaven. God calls many (actually all), but few respond to the invitation by receiving Christ in total humility, repenting of our sins, forgiving others, and seeking the Lord and His will for our lives. Most would rather devote themselves to the affairs of the world, the lusts of the flesh, or even the works of the devil. Perhaps they have some cherished, hidden sin they just cannot give up, or they have been hurt by another person and vow to never forgive them, thus disqualifying themselves for forgiveness from God.
When our time is up and we stand at the entrance to Heaven, even though we have an invitation to the Marriage Feast of the Lamb, if we are not clothed with the radiance of the Holy Spirit and a repentant and joyful heart, we too will be denied entrance to the Kingdom of Heaven. We will be escorted to the outer darkness, enroute to the Lake of Fire. We will have refused to obey the admonition from Hebrews 12:14: “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord,” and will pay for it for eternity.
Time is short, so let us make sure we are properly attired for the Marriage Feast of the Lamb, and reach out to those around us with the love and truth of Christ, that they too may be properly attired and admitted to the most memorable and important event in their lives; life eternal with our Lord in heaven.
To God be the glory