Ever been rejected? It hurts. Ever put yourself out there so far, and having been rejected so bad, you vow never to risk it again? Perhaps we can take some consolation in the fact that even God experiences rejection. I believe God doesn’t force his will on anyone, but rather desires for us to freely choose Him.
But we can refuse. This parable is filled with rejection. Listen in:
“He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. 4 “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.’ 5 “But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business”(Matt. 22:3-5).
God is throwing a party, and instead of using e-vites, wedding invitations, or a postcard reminder, he sends his servants to personally invite people to the banquet. Do you realize that God is still taking the same approach today? Yes, he’s still relying on ordinary Christians like you and I to go out and extend the invitation. And the most effective invitation is still the most personal one. And that means we’re the lucky ones who get to be rejected sometimes.
Have you invited someone to church lately? Have you invited a friend to a concert, or conference, or any event that you thought might bring them closer to God, “but they refused to come” (v.3)? It hurts. Church planting is all about word-of-mouth invitations — and, therefore, many rejections. I need not remind my MainStreet friends that of the 100+ people I had hoped would join the MainStreet adventure, almost none of them did. Yes, that’s almost 100 polite, Minnesota-nice “thanks, but no thanks.” It hurt (especially my pride) but it didn’t kill me.
Next we’re told that the King didn’t give up after one rejection. He was persistent. The king sent his servants out again, with an even more persuasive — even desperate — invitation: “Come on people! The food’s already been ordered, we’ve already paid a hefty amount on catering, and everything is ready. Come already (v.4)!
“But they paid no attention and went off” to do what they thought was more important (v.5). Ouch. Rejection #2. Have you been there? My church planting manual reminds me that people often only show up after about 5 or 6 personal invitations. I feel like I’m badgering people after one. Can you relate?
So…God is throwing a party…and apparently few are interested. This is the dark side of the gospel ministry of Jesus. And if Jesus was often rejected, then we are in good company when we are too. So, take heart! In time, the right people will show up at the right time….