RSVPing the King: the Party Poopers

Jesus describes three kinds of people: party poopers, party animals, and party crashers.

In Matthew 22:1-14, a king has invited several groups of people to the wedding feast for his son, the prince. Jesus explained that the first group — which had already received personal invitations in advance — refused to come. Their reaction to the renewed invitation was indifference: they went their own way, went to their own farm, went to their own business. Like the guys who always had a test to study for, and the ladies who were always washing their hair, they were the Party Poopers.

But why did they decline? Everybody wants to go to parties thrown by the prominent, the wealthy, the powerful, if only to see whether the groom’s cake or bride’s cake is better, to see how high the champagne fountain is, and to see the inevitable train wreck on the dance floor filled with people who had too much champagne and gorged themselves with cake.

In those days, the host at such significant events provided everything, including the clothes that the guests wore. So the people who attended were paying tribute to the king’s guest of honor, eating the king’s food, using the king’s china, enjoying the king’s entertainment, wearing the king’s clothes, and admiring the king’s champagne fountain.

It would be poor form for invitees to draw attention to themselves, to their farms, to their businesses while they sipped the king’s champagne and danced to the king’s rock band with others similarly imbibing and gorging and rocking.

In other words, the invitees were expected to forget themselves, forget their accomplishments, forget their work, and instead enjoy the king’s bounty.

But for many people, forgetting themselves is all too difficult.

They prefer to piddle in their own pitiful worlds than to rejoice in the banquet of the true king. For them, an invitation to focus attention on the wealth of the king is too much. The suggestion that their own accomplishments don’t really amount to anything and are nothing anyone would want to party about, anyway, is too humiliating, and the deflation of their pride leads to anger in their heart and to murder on their hands.

Little has changed.

Men still decline the king’s invitation because they can’t acknowledge the superior value of his bounty, or conceive that anything is more beautiful than themselves.

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