Open Invitation

open invitation

“Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.” So the servants brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the banquet hall was filled with guests. (Matthew 22:9-10)

Read: Exodus 15:19-17:7, Matthew 22:1-33, Psalm 27:1-6, Proverbs 6:20-26

Relate: I can’t stand the suburbs. Sorry if that is where you live, but it is just not for me. My heart is for cities. I love the noise, and the sights, and the food, and most of all the people. I also enjoy the great outdoors. Although I have found country living isn’t my thing, I do enjoy going out to the countryside for visits and vacations. There is something beautiful about being out there somewhere where the nearest neighbor is a half mile away and a stroll through the back yard really means a three day hike through the woods.

What I cannot stand is the suburbs. I don’t like the sameness of every single house. I don’t like how, if Mr Jones goes out to wash his car (or mow the lawn, or…) every single other man on the block will be out there within the next eight hours doing the same. We can’t let his car be cleaner, or lawn trimmer, than ours. In my opinion, there is one adequate answer to the question, “What will the neighbors think?” That answer is: “Who cares!” No. Suburbia is definitely not my thing.

React: It is probably good then, that I am not the one responsible for deciding who is invited to the wedding feast. I would be far too selective. My bias wouldn’t be racial, I am a white boy living with black siblings who hasn’t dated a “WASP” in over a decade. It wouldn’t be political, most of my friends are republican although I, most certainly, am not. My bias wouldn’t be socioeconomic. Nope. Mine would be cultural. The typical “white picket fence, with a dog and two kids” American dream sounds to me like a nightmare.

As hard as it might be for me to believe, Jesus loves these people too. He loves the people whose lives revolve around PTA meetings and fantasy football leagues. He loves those who keep all their possessions in a shopping cart and who consider “home” a corner under the I90 bridge. He also loves those whose idea of “roughing it” is flying first class with the common people rather than taking the private jet. God isn’t selective in who He calls. Are we? His invitation goes out to everyone… including you.

Respond: 

Dear God, help me to see everyone I meet through Your eyes. There are some people easy for me to like but others that, for whatever reason, I just can’t. Let me love them just the same. Let me manifest Your love even on those who disagree with me, those who don’t share the same priorities, and might not even vote the same as I do. Let me speak Your truth to all without ever holding back. Your invitation to come extended even to one as unlovable as me, how can I not pass it onward?
Amen

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20 thoughts on “Open Invitation

  1. Thank you for this. It is sometimes hard to admit our dislikes; however, it is freeing to do so. I, to be honest just want to go live in the country, maybe near a lake and live off the land. I feel suffocated in the city. I don’t mind city people, I just don’t like how fast everything and everyone is. It will be fun if we meet at the wedding feast! ;-).

  2. I grew up a city kid and now I’m “McMansion Jones”. I discovered some great people among the masses in the city, and I have met some great people out in the suburbs as well. In every pocket of the world there are good and bad people. Whether we have a front lawn or a front stoop, good and evil await us each day. And BTW, I don’t worry about what the neighbors think of my landscaping. I like to think that my priorities are better in this regard! We all have our reasons for existing somewhere. Some of us choose it, some have no choice.

  3. I tend to agree with the above comment. There is good and bad in every single neighborhood. It does take going outside our own box to discover that. Through wandering from the burbs to the downtown, to a trip overseas where your destination is the city dump where thousands of people live to the country folk who clearly seem to all talk and think alike. What gets my panties in a wad is not sameness but that “I’m so much better than you” air. That cynical critical spirit that truly divides us as people. When we get to the point that we are not only happy with where ever we happen to live, but are also inviting those around us to taste of the wedding feast through Christ, then……then I believe through humble hearts Jesus can use us for His glory right where we are. God bless you.

  4. As much as people don’t want to admit it, we all have a bias in some shape or form. A lot of it I believes comes from the notion that there is nothing wrong with us but the other guy….that is a whole other story. It is like when Jesus was talking about the man who had a plank in his eye and never considered it but condemns the one who only has a speck in their eye. People are always trying to compare themselves to other people in order to show that they are better or to improve themselves. I praise the Lord that He doesn’t look at me and see imperfection. What He sees instead is His crucified Son, my risen Savior, in me. Jesus knocks at every person’s soul, we will let Him in? He knocks at every door of our heart because He knows that He is the One thing that all of us needs. He doesn’t see the imperfections in us, He sees the potential. We ought to do the same.

  5. Mark Hall wrote a song entitled “IF WE ARE THE BODY” [Written by Mark Hall, Copr. 2003, Club Zoo Music] which I have listened to for years. There is one line that speaks to exactly what you are expressing here: ‘Jesus paid much too high a price for us to pick and choose who should come’. As the Body of Christ, we are to reach out to all, not just to those we like! It is difficult, but not nearly as difficult as the cross. Praise His Holy Name!

  6. Beejai,
    You are so right. Christ loved those who put Him on the cross and those who mourned His being there. He loved the bad thief as much a He did the good thief. The reason why He invited the good thief to paradise and not the bad thief was because the good thief had remorse. That was his confession; and Christ forgave him.
    -Alan

  7. Yes, I read this today too, but my curiosity was for “what is the wedding garment?” I mean, of course, I think I know what it is, but do I? Why did one of the “good and bad” invited not get it and stand there speechless then get thrown, bound, into the outer darkness? And this whole story leads into one of the most famous statements in the Bible (and perhaps antithetical to Peter’s statement that God is patient to save everyone). “For many are called but few are chosen.” Please God! Help me to take this wedding seriously!!!

  8. P.S. I also have a great distaste for the suburbs, but more and more, I am just not comfortable at all…settled…anywhere. God has made me more of a sojourner–tent-dweller (like Abraham) and tent-mender (like Paul: ministry for free, getting by on God’s daily manna) in my heart anyway.

  9. As one of those suburbanites you have a hard time loving let me say thank you for your honesty. I for one am not for the city, I despise the business and noise. However I do share your love for the country. I also have a hard time loving certain types of people. I am so thankful for the body of Christ, as imperfect as we are. He can use each of us in our imperfections to reach the world. You can reach those I can’t and vice versa. But may we all hope, actively pursue and strive, to love all as Christ did.

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