The Invitation from God is Freely Given and Should be Freely Accepted
One of the most difficult things about living the Christian life is free will, not our free will, but the free will of others. It isn’t difficult to exercise our free will. We do that every time we leave the house. But when we are expected to honor the free will of others, it can be incredibly difficult. It could mean, and often does, that people will behave in ways that we do not want. It could mean, and often does, that people will say things we do not want. Nonetheless everyone is free to say and do as they choose. It doesn’t make it any easier, but it is true.
For example, most if not all of us have hosted dinner parties where certain guests that were invited did not attend, and most if not all of us have been invited to dinner parties we have chosen not to attend. I’m sure none of us enjoy attending a dinner party out of obligation and guilt when we would rather be doing something else, and I’m sure all of us would prefer that our guests used their free will and actually wanted to attend.
The same is true when it comes to the Heavenly Banquet. The Lord has invited each of us to join Him at the Heavenly Banquet and is waiting for our response. It is a simple invitation: “Come, for all things are now ready.” (Luke 14.17) The rest is up to us…will we accept the Lord’s invitation?
As we hear in the Gospel, not everyone accepts His invitation. When the servants had called all those invited, “They all with one accord began to make excuses.” (Luke 14.18) In response, the Lord didn’t try to guilt them into accepting, nor did He force them to attend. Rather, He went out and invited others to attend so His “House may be filled.” (Luke 14.23)
Only one question remains; will we accept His invitation or make excuses? He won’t force us to accept and He doesn’t want us to come out of fear or guilt. The invitation is freely given to us and He desires us to freely accept it.