Devotional Reading from the Daily Common Lectionary: Matthew 22: 1-14
Text: Then (the king in the parable) said (to his servants): “The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthing. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you see to the wedding feast.” (vss. 8&10)
Bypass surgery. Those two words strike fear in many a heart–no pun intended. When there is a blockage of one of the arteries to the heart, it is first treated with medicine. But when an emergency arises in the form of a heart attack drastic measures are taken. The chest is split open, a vein is taken from an arm or a leg and reattached to the main artery “bypassing” the blockage. When it goes well–as it more often than not does–health is restored but lifestyle changes are in order.
In today’s reading, a parable, a king sends out invitations to a wedding feast for his child. It was not a general invitation but a very specific one to particular individuals. But they were so preoccupied with themselves that they declined the invitation. So, the king “bypassed” them and invited others to take their place.
I believe that God also practices bypass surgery. When God calls an individual or a church to a particular task God believes that they are well suited for the task. They need to accept the invitation. If they refuse, their place in God’s Purpose will not go empty for God’s Will will be done. Another is simply invited in their place.
I do not pretend to know what the ultimate consequences are for individuals who do not respond to God’s call–God’s nudge, but I do know of many churches that ceased to exist because rather than “serving” they became “self-serving”. As a consequence, they disconnect themselves from “the vine” of Christ, withered and died.
Here’s a question to consider; what is God calling you or your congregation to do? Are you listening? Are you responding? I hope so, if for no one sake but your own.
Lord, I await your invitation. Tell me what to do, show me how to do it and give me the courage to do Your work. Amen.