Matthew 22.3-5 NIV — “He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’ But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business.”
I went to the most beautiful 10 year anniversary celebration of my close friends, Matthew and Justine*. This day is forever in my heart as one of my most treasured memories. I meditate on it whenever I feel there is no beauty in the world, and God reminds me that He specializes in creating beauty.
Matthew planned every amazing detail months in advance for this surprise anniversary party. He wanted to bless his wife and show everyone how much he adores and loves her. It is well known that Justine has made Matthew her primary ministry, and Matthew wanted to return the devotion she has shown him through the years.
Matthew invited everyone who has shared life with Justine. He even invited friends that she hasn’t seen for years. He flew some of her friends in from other countries, so that they could take part in this special celebration. He rented out the most amazing party room at the top of a regal hotel. There was well over 100 family and friends there anxiously awaiting the couple’s arrival.
When Matthew escorted his wife into the party room, Justine looked absolutely radiant. She was wearing her wedding dress, and it sparkled like it was newly bought. Her hair was done in a french twist, and her make-up was professionally done. She was stunning.
When Justine’s eyes scanned the crowd of people waiting in her honor, she looked shocked and confused. When the reality of the surprise sunk in, tears of joy and awe streamed down her face. She gracefully pinpointed friends from the crowd with her eyes, waved and mouthed her thank yous. With every new face she noticed, she shed more tears. Many of the lives that she has touched were in attendance, and we all just gleamed her praise.
Justine had no idea that Matthew had prepared more special blessings for her. Matthew asked Justine’s father (a pastor) to help them renew their vows. Matthew played the guitar and sung a song he wrote for her years ago, which she had forgotten. He hired an artist to paint her wedding photo on a large canvas that was ornately framed. He arranged for a delicious feast with many courses. And while she was eating, he gave her a toast and allowed for several of her closest friends to share how much she has impacted their lives.
After dessert, the band played and people danced and chatted. Justine wove through the crowd, visiting with friends and family. Matthew presented his wife with a beautiful new wedding ring, and he gave all of us parting gifts.
I felt so spoiled that night, and I thanked God for allowing me to be a part of such an unforgettable reception. I felt in my heart that this is how God wants to shine on Christians, His children. He wants to set us a part and show His glory in our lives. Jesus is our bridegroom, and He has all the resources at His disposal. He wants to adorn His bride with all the beauty that is in Him.
In the story of the wedding feast (Matthew 2.1-14 NIV), God sends out His servants to tell those people who have been invited to the banquet to come. But they wouldn’t come. Christians ARE the invited. We are God’s children. God has our nameplate already on the table. Two times (Old Testament & New Testament) God sends out His servants to tell the invited to come, but they refused.
Christians are the New Testament invited! He is calling us to dine with Him and feast from the blessings that He has prepared. God says, “‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.”
He has already prepared the feast. It is a done deal! But where are the Christians? The Bible says that many of them were too busy with the farms and businesses to come. If they would have only known about the amazing banquet made in their honor as the bride of Christ! They would have dropped everything and ran to the party.
But God doesn’t want us to come to the feast because of the blessings; He wants us to come to the feast out of love for him.
My friend, Justine, went to dinner with her husband unaware of what he had planned for her. She went simply because she loved her husband. Because of her love for Him, she was abundantly blessed (and all of her friends too).
My greatest fear is that there are many people doing church work who are missing out on God’s banquet. I know that I was one of them. God will bless our work — He will bless our farms with a harvest, but it pales in comparison to the grand feast He has waiting for us.
The feast is all around us. It is in our jobs, our relationships, our activities, our ministries. There is a banquet in our everyday life, but we must set our hearts on God and experience all that He has for us! We need to diligently seek an intimate, deep relationship with the wedding planner. The world does its best to temp us with measly scraps. Drop the crumbs and run to your Bridegroom! He’ holding the door open for you!
*Justine and Matthew are pseudo names.
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