Monday, December 14, 2015

I'm Having a Party. You're Invited.

Friends of Faith:

I’m having a party. Are you coming?

Essentially that is what God is telling us every day. He’s inviting us to a party. And it is our choice as to how we respond-- yes or no, there is no “in between” or “maybe” answer. We either show up or we don’t.

We must not be too busy, too worried, too anxious, or too ready to do it ourselves. We must rejoice that he is asking.

Brothers and sisters: Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4: 4-7

We must love him more than our jobs; the Iowa Rosebowl, Iowa State basketball or the Chicago Cubs playoff; our kids soccer coach who says the kids won’t play if they don’t go to practice; The Voice or whatever it is on TV that is “our show;” our lake house or whatever else it is that keeps us away from church, prayer and working with the poor.

We must choose him over everything else.

Jesus again in reply spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast* for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. A second time he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast.”’Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.’ The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike,* and the hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to meet the guests he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. He said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’ But he was reduced to silence. Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’ Many are invited, but few are chosen.” Mt 22: 1-14

And because God says “what we do for the least of our brothers, so we do for Him” sometimes the choice isn’t just about my attendance at church (that’s a given) but the tougher choice about choosing to stay home from work, shopping, or skipping something recreational, to take care of my family or my neighbor; have a listening ear to someone who is lonely; or spending time with someone who is ill.

The great thing about God though is that he keeps giving us a second chance, and he asks us for nothing, only that we ourselves be with Him. He does not ask us to bring presents, food, or challenging games or conversations only the gifts of our time and talents. And He continues to give us the chance to say yes with the opportunities for giving into faith and shutting out the worlds call for more success, more money, and more happiness. He simply calls us to love him through our love for others.

Heavenly Father, I want to say yes! Help me to shut out the worldly distractions. Help me to realize I can’t do everything by myself. Help me to realize that others need what you have given me as a gift. Thank you for giving me answers to my prayers and the faith to see you in the tough choices I am called to make. Please give me and others peace, joy and comfort when we say yes and when we see others say yes because we have been a witness for you. Amen.

Will you be one of the chosen because you said yes when he invited you? God asks everyone but His question requires an answer. Make your RSVP this Advent season! 

Let’s not forget that Christmas is His party. I’m hoping to see you there.

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