“Many are invited, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:14
Zack did track this past spring in Middle School. It was one of the only sports without a try out: anyone can join. I kept getting conflicting reports, but I think there ended up being 120 kids with only 3 coaches. Needless to say, Zack got next to no coaching all season.
Reading this Scripture passage changes how I feel about that experience. In this parable, when the invited guests don’t come to his son’s wedding, the king sends his servants out to gather up anyone they can find to come to the banquet. He welcomes them all, “bad and good alike,” until one man shows up “not dressed in wedding garments.” The king has him bound, hands and feet, and thrown out into the darkness.
The man was given a great opportunity. He was invited to the palace of the king. But he didn’t invest himself; he didn’t rise to the occasion and change his clothes. He just showed up as is, ready to take advantage of the situation. Although the king was willing to let anyone in the door, the only ones allowed to stay were those who recognized the honor and put forth an effort.
The obvious point is, God’s love is extended to us all, bad and good alike. However, we should put forth an effort if we want to experience the true banquet He is offering us. Like any relationship, the more we invest, the deeper the relationship gets. If it’s all just one sided, God giving and us taking, we’re binding our own hands and feet by limiting the light we let into our lives.
Track was similar. All the kids were welcome, good and bad athletes alike. However, once on the field, they had to rise to the occasion, put forth the effort. They had to be self-motivated and learn any way they could: by watching the senior athletes, trial and error, and ingesting whatever crumbs the coaches were tossing their way.
Of course, in a perfect world, the coach to athlete ratio should have been better (especially with the taxes we pay in this town). But this isn’t a perfect world. My kids are going to have incompetent teachers, coaches and bosses at some point in their lives. I need to teach my kids to rise to the occasion and put forth whatever effort is necessary.
Having learned from this experience, I had Zack out running four mornings a week this summer. Cross Country started yesterday, on day one of school. I’m hoping all his effort will pay off in his performance. Yes, Zack can be on the team no matter what. But I want him to be worthy of the opportunity, being the best athlete he can possibly be.
Questions For Reflection:
* What opportunities do my kids have that are open to all?
* Am I teaching them to honor those opportunities and capitalize on them?
* What opportunities do I have that are open to all?
* Am I honoring those opportunities and capitalizing on them too?
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