I recently missed a deadline of an invitation to speak at a writers’ conference next year for which I really wanted to do a workshop presentation; I had gotten an email about applying to speak at the conference and then it slipped my mind and when I remembered to respond, it was too late. I even tried to cajole my way in and while the conference chair was really nice about it (saying ‘if it was up to me, I’d still let you in, I really wish I could, but I can’t’) I had to accept that it was too late and letting me in would simply be unfair to the other speaking applicants. (I am starting to learn humility a little bit more in practicing acceptance – the old me would have kept badgering her expecting a different answer!)
Is there something important that you missed because you failed to respond, reply, RSVP? Do you procrastinate on responding to an invitation because you’re thinking something better on that date might come along…or overlook an invitation or event because you’re too busy…and then when you realize you don’t want to miss it, you’ve missed the RSVP deadline and it’s too late? Imagine receiving the ultimate invitation – to a party you wouldn’t miss for the world, thrown by your closest friend – and somehow, you procrastinated or were too busy to RSVP – and you missed it? You would probably feel sick to your stomach with regret so deep it may never go away the rest of your life. I think that’s the kind of “party” God is inviting us to by asking us to join Him in the kingdom of heaven one day – and many of us have ignored the invitation – we have either not yet RSVP’d, or are putting our response off, or are just too busy to bother with a reply right now. And none of us knows when our “deadline” will be – how much time we have left here on earth.
In telling one of His parables on the kingdom of heaven in which He likened it to a wedding feast a father throws for his son, Jesus said that many were originally invited but “some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business.” Some of those invited actually beat and killed the servants (prophets) who were extending the invitation. Then the father (God) told his servants to go out in the streets and invite “whomever you find” (which would be all of us.) “The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests.” But apparently one of the guests wasn’t “dressed in a wedding garment” (meaning he wasn’t prepared to be there) and the king cast him out. “Many are invited, but few are chosen,” Jesus concludes.
I believe we need to RSVP each and every day to the invitation to be with God, prepare ourselves for entry to His kingdom, and not ignore His messengers (whoever or however they present themselves). We don’t know when the party will be, but we better be ready “dressed” for the occasion!