Read: Matthew 22:1–14

But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, “Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?” And the man was speechless. Matthew 22:11–12 

This is a disturbing little parable that seems to cast God in a rather unsettling light. God is portrayed as a king who gets angry when his invitations are not accepted—to the point of violence. After inviting everyone that could be found to his banquet, the king punishes a man who tried to sneak his way into the celebration. Apparently, God does not appreciate people who refuse invitations, nor does God have patience for wedding crashers who try to sneak into God’s party without being announced.

There is no question that this is a rather dark portrait of God, but it may accurately reflect something of God’s character. In the end, the admonition seems clear—we should come when called, and we shouldn’t expect a welcome mat to be rolled out for us when we attempt to enter God’s presence on our own terms, taking our own sweet time.

How do you respond to God’s invitations?

Lord, I like to be discreet about my faith. I tell myself that it is because I dont want to make other people uncomfortable. I like to think of myself as thoughtful that way. But the truth is, I am a bit cowardly when it comes to faith. When You call I find something better to do with my time, and when I am finally interested in encountering You, I try to do so without being noticed. You have invited me into relationship with You, so please help me to walk in the front door to experience Your embrace instead of trying to sneak in the back door for a quick peek. In Jesusname, I pray. AMEN.