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August 11, 2013

Invitation Declined

Actually three to be accurate. Yep, I had three different invitations last week to get out into the great outdoors, but due to various obligations and schedule conflicts, I had to decline each of them. The first was going to be a trip to the lower Chesapeake Bay to fish for cobia. Spotting, casting to, hooking and landing a cobia is on my bucket list of things to do, and I've still yet to catch a cobia, so it was difficult to turn down that opportunity. The second was an invitation to fish the 'skinny water' in search of the inshore slam. Catching speckled trout, redfish and flounder is just about one of my favorite things to do in saltwater, and I have yet to have a productive trip this summer catching these species, so declining this invite was equally as painful. The third was an opportunity to go frog gigging, which I have done very little of and which I have a renewed interest in since watching the Robertson boys work on them and hear them rave about how they taste. I hate to turn down an invitation because there is always the possibility that the invitation may not be extended again, so having to do it three times last week alone was painful to say the least.

Matthew 22:1-5 (NASB)
Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying, The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. Again he sent out other slaves saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast.”’ But they paid no attention and went their way...

Yes, we are all very busy folks (which is a devotion topic for another time), are going to experience schedule conflicts and will have to decline opportunities to do our favorite activities from time to time. In fact, we would not be living out the lives God intends for us as husbands and fathers if we took folks up on every invitation to go 'play'. But that is not really what I am writing to today, and not what the Parable of the Wedding Banquet is warning us about.

The IVP New Testament Commentary explains the Parable like this: It was common for kings to throw wedding banquets for sons, to which they might invite the entire village. Ignoring a king's proclamation or invitation warranted severe punishment. By refusing to come, the guests deliberately insult the dignity of the king who counted on their attendance and graciously prepared food for them. For all the invited guests to refuse to come would greatly shame the host, so the unanimous refusal barely disguises what must be a concerted plan to deliberately insult the host.

God sent His Son Jesus into the world to pay our sin debt so that we could join Him at the banquet table, and it was His intention that every person accept this gift. However, some have decided to intentionally ignore His invitation, while many others have subtly become so caught up in daily responsibilities and business that they haven't made time to consider the invitation to attend the banquet. So, what have you decided to do with God's invitation to join Him at the celebration feast? More specifically, what have you decided to do with His Son Jesus? May you be reminded that those who dishonor the Son shame and dishonor the Father who sent him. - GE

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