How is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?
Suppose you’re invited to a good friend’s wedding. After the ceremony, you enter the reception hall and you notice another guest, his face unshaven, wearing blue jeans and a tattered T-shirt, greedily piling food on his plate and getting into arguments with the other guests. Feeling hurt and insulted, the groom walks over to him and says, “How could you? Please leave!” You’re not surprised. After all, this man showed your friend terrible disrespect. His attitude was even worse than his clothing.
In the same way, the man at the end of Jesus’ parable was out of place. He chose not to wear the wedding garment provided for him, snubbing the king’s generous offer to clothe him with dignity. We can liken this to the clothing of the saints in heaven, “the righteous deeds of the holy ones” spoken of in the Scriptures. We may think this fellow was treated harshly, but it’s actually what he chose for himself. For the wedding garment—the righteousness available through Jesus’ sacrifice—was his for the taking. He just didn’t put it on.
You, too, have been invited to a wedding banquet, the “wedding feast of the Lamb”. You will never receive an invitation more important than this one. So don’t stick it in a drawer. Instead, take the grace you have been given and respond to it. Every day, set your heart on growing in virtue and holiness. Clothe yourself in “heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience”.
Just one note of caution: beware of racking up good deeds just to impress the Lord. He is far more interested in quality than quantity. He wants to see a change in your heart, not just your actions. That’s why he is pleased when you put aside selfishness and let his love flow out of you. It’s why he is excited to see you embrace opportunities to bring his encouragement or wisdom to the people who need it. As long as you are trying to love, you need never fear ending up like this unfortunate man.
Word Among Us