Every year, our church holds an extravagant dinner; a banquet and ball. Very Luxe. It is completely free to attend. I have never attended, in the six years we have been at our church, simply because I do not own a fancy dress and the thought of organising a babysitter and driving to the city, and being tired for the next week is too much. But this year, while I was mentally rejecting the invitation as it was being announced, God arrested me.
He reminded me of the story of the wedding banquet in the bible.
Matthew 22:1-14 says,
Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: “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: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’
“But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.
“Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
“For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
Doing the photo shoot on the weekend compounded things. It was this parable in action. There we were, dressed to the nines, standing amongst all these jeans clad hipsters, tasked with taking our photos (incredible, wonderful, ultra talented and supremely kind, jeans clad hipsters).
But if they had tried to be in the photo, they would have ruined it. They were not dressed to suit the occasion.
I felt like God has been saying to me, I want to celebrate you, I want to bless you, I have joy and so much good for you, you just need to accept the blessing. You need to turn up. And not just turn up, but turn up dressed appropriately for the occasion.
The process of getting ready for the photo shoot, that I spoke about yesterday in part one of this post, was important. It showed me that the preparation has it’s own reward and God doesn’t want us to miss out on that. The preparation is just as important as the final event. If we don’t go through the preparation, we don’t belong in the final event. Just like the hipsters. It wasn’t their place to be in the photograph, they hadn’t prepared. Just like it wasn’t my place to take the photos, I hadn’t prepared.
God wanted to say to me, don’t be afraid of the preparation. Stop saying “No, that is not for me because I can’t face the preparation. Stop thinking, you would turn up for the event, if only you didn’t need to do the preparation.
The preparation is all about getting through our fears. Shopping is one of my fears, you may think I am crazy but when I was younger I’d have panic attacks in the mall. Another fear is being rejected when I ask for help. So I tend not to ask. This is why I haven’t been to the ball. I have been waiting for a fairy Godmother, to dress me, and watch the house while I go to the ball with Prince Charming.
But God is saying “No, Lauren, it is time to do the work. Face your fears, prepare your faith, for the event that I am planning for you.”
God wants me dressed in faith, for his banquet. He wants us all dressed in faith for his banquet.
You might not be afraid of shopping, or being rejected by babysitters, but all of us are dealing with fears. I just want to encourage us today to step into the process of preparation. God will meet you there. The ground will be firm under your feet and as you keep stepping, God will take off your fear and clothe you with faith.
I have one year till the next banquet. No, I admit I didn’t go this year, but after this weekend I am convicted. I am stepping out! When that banquet comes around next July, I am going to be dressed in sparkly faith, ready to kiss my kids goodnight, leave them with the babysitter and go dancing!
Be encouraged, be blessed today, whatever fears you have, and I have, we don’t need a fairy God mother. We need to step out into what God has prepared for us by doing our own preparation. With God’s help we can let go of fear and put on faith.
Lots of love,
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