The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. – Matthew 22:2
It’s been a while since I’ve written about any dreams I’ve had. Frankly, I don’t remember many since I started praying I’d only remember the important ones and forget the meaningless ones. (My mind has enough clutter, thank you.)
But recently I had a dream that was vivid and, I believe, significant for believers today.
Maybe it was because the holidays are approaching, but I dreamt about a gathering of people. Women were bustling around the kitchen, while some teenagers sat around a table playing a board game. (I assume the men were in the den watching sports.) I was heading outside to take some chicken off the grill and bring it inside.
The chicken glistened with juiciness and barbecue sauce, and I knew it was going to be delicious. Just as I got the last piece onto the platter, my daughter’s big dog, Irma, leapt at me, nearly knocking me down and snatching the biggest piece of chicken.
I was annoyed, but also concerned for Irma. I’ve had dogs all my life and know you don’t give chicken bones to dogs, as they splinter and can pierce the dog’s insides.
“Hey, I need some help here!” I yelled, as Irma continued to jump on me, threatening to spill the whole platter of poultry. I could see the kids still playing their board game, seemingly oblivious to what was going on outside. I tried to balance the platter while pushing the pooch away from me and continued to call for help. Since the kids didn’t seem to care what was going on outside, I yelled louder, hoping the women in the kitchen would hear, before their entire dinner got dumped in the dirt.
Dreams are strange. Sometimes you know things without seeing or hearing them. Somehow I knew someone inside was rolling their eyes and saying, She’s OK, she just wants attention.
This isn’t just for me, it’s for them, too! And I’m worried about Irma! I thought, indignant.
Ignore her, they were saying.
I was being deliberately ignored!?
With renewed energy, I pushed my way past the dog and into the house. I chastised the kids who had turned a deaf ear to my cries for help – not just for my sake but for the sake of the dog swallowing the razor-sharp bone fragments, not to mention anyone else interested in the feast I was bringing to the table!
“Did you not hear me yelling for help?!” I demanded. To my utter astonishment, they still didn’t look up from their game. Nor did any of the women come out of the kitchen to see what was going on.
“Fine!” I announced, dropping the platter onto the table. “I’m done.” And with that I walked away. I was only mildly surprised when no one followed or even called out after me.
At another house it was Christmastime! I felt welcome here and went right in. Once inside I could see snow at every window, a fire in the fireplace, and bright colored decorations sparkling everywhere. I could hear Christmas carols and children’s laughter. In the kitchen some kids were decorating sugar cookies, and in the den some more were watching the last minutes of a Christmas special. I recognized it as one of my favorites, and I feigned disappointment.
“Aw, you didn’t wait for me?” I fake pouted.
“It’s OK,” said my granddaughter, Charlotte, jumping up and taking my arm. “We’ll watch it again later, and you can watch it with us then.” I was invited to join them in any and all of their Christmas activities, and I experienced a deep joy, as I felt like a little kid myself.
[I woke up with a smile on my face.]
Amazingly, Jesus taught that the sin of apathy is as damning as what we call the “big sins” – murder, adultery, and the like. He told a parable of a king who gave a great wedding feast for his son, but oddly the invitees refused to come. So, the snubbed king sent his servants out to gather others off the street until his banquet hall was filled. Those who had ignored the original invitation were left in outer darkness. – Their loss.
Many people behave that way today. We share the way to eternal life; some accept the message joyfully, others reject the invitation. Some even seem annoyed, as though we were asking them to do us a favor – not realizing that it is for their sake that we’re trying to point the way. Many simply ignore us.
But these responses (or lack of) are no reason to give up sharing the Gospel! While some may not seem interested in avoiding damnation and living forever with God, there are plenty, like my granddaughter Charlotte, who are very eager to hear your good news. Childlike at heart, they are far different from those who consider themselves too cool to talk with you about such things.
If you’re like me, you have spent a lot of time praying for and witnessing to certain people you care about very much. You reason with them, you invite them, and you warn them. Their lack of response can be draining, and downright discouraging.
You may need a break. You may need to leave those people to God, knowing there are others who have been waiting for someone to give them hope. You just might find that the moment you’re about to give up, the Lord puts people in your path who are only too happy to invite you into their lives and hear your good news.
Jesus gave us the Great Commission – share the Good News. Especially now. Time is short.
P.S. If you’re wondering, What is this “good news?” here are a couple of my past posts that explain it:
If you’d like to discuss this offer of eternal life further, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, forgive us for the times we’ve ignored Your invitations. We know we’re the ones who get hurt when we pass up the chance to be with You. Open our eyes to Your will for us. Then use us to open the eyes of others to the wonder of Your salvation. Help us never to give up. In Your name, Amen.