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. Then he sent some more servants and said, "Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner...Come to the wedding banquet." But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. (Matthew 22:2-5)

Now for a sobering truth, more sobering than any other we have considered.

To be honest, we must understand that not everyone lives happily ever after, not in any tale. This promise of the happy ending—or the new beginning—is only for the friends of God. Many people do not want the life that God offers them.

Remember—he gave us free will.

He gave us a choice.

We seem to forget—perhaps more truthfully, we refuse to remember—that we are the ones who betrayed him, not vice versa. We are the ones who listened to the lies of the Evil One in the Garden; we chose to mistrust the heart of God. In breaking the one command he gave us, we set in motion a life of breaking his commands. (You have loved God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength? You have loved your neighbor as yourself?)

The final act of self-centeredness is seen in those who refuse to come to the wedding banquet of God (Matthew 22:2-3). They do not want God. They reject his offer of forgiveness and reconciliation through Jesus. What is he to do? The universe has only two options. If they insist, God will grant to them what they have wanted—to be left to themselves.

To be rescued from an eternity apart from God—this is why the rescued ones fall before him at the Great Feast in songs of gratitude and worship. Yes, we will worship God. It won't be like a church service, but we will worship him. We will adore him.

But that day has not yet come.

Until then, the invitation of life stands.

I have set before you life and death...Now choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

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