For a long time, the Church portrayed itself as an exclusive club. That only certain people were worthy of even an invitation to join. How this ever became a doctrine is beyond me because it is completely contrary to what Jesus taught.
If anything, the church should the be the most inclusive* gathering on the planet. There should be no one left without an invitation.
So what happens when everyone is invited? Jesus shared a story of a king who was putting on a wedding feast. He’d prepared and sent out invitations and all those invited declined. (Who passes up the opportunity for a free feast?) In fact (and this sounds a little too familiar), some of those who were invited responded in anger and violence. Finally, the king sent his servants out to invite anyone they could find since he deemed the original invitees unworthy.
The servants brought in anyone and everyone they could find who would accept the invitation. Good people. Bad people. All people.
But there was one man who accepted the late invitation, yet failed to properly prepare. The king had him bound and thrown out.
This may seem extreme, but the man was invited into the presence of the king! If you suddenly received an invitation to Buckingham Palace, I’m reasonably certain that you wouldn’t show up in sweatpants and a tank top. You’d more than likely immediately head out and find something appropriate to wear in the presence of royalty.
I’ve heard many in and outside of the church whine and complain about the church being an exclusive place where they don’t have a place. Here’s the thing: we’re all invited. God has done His part by sending out the invitation. It is up to us to RSVP. It is up to us to show up. And it is entirely up to us whether or not we show up prepared.
If you’re invited to try out for your favourite CFL team and show up without any of the proper equipment, you’ll be immediately struck off the list of candidates. You can’t very well then complain about not making the team because the team did their part in sending the invitation. The preparation is on you.
For may are called, but few are chosen.
Matthew 22:14 (NLT)
You are called. Whether or not you are chosen depends entirely on your level of preparation.
*I feel that, by using the word inclusive, I need to offer further explanation. Today’s culture would have the word mean that we must not only invite all, but accept all choices and preferences regardless of what the Bible teaches. I do not condone this use of the word. Jesus was welcoming of all as humans, but urged all those invited to leave their sin behind. The inclusive part is in the invitation, not the lifestyle.
Daily Bible reading: Exodus 29-30, Matthew 22:1-22