It was that time of year when teens get dressed up, and lots of money is spent on fancy rides and formal wear. Yes, it was prom season.
Young Suzie was a special one. She had been looking forward to the event for nearly her entire life. Untold hours were spent looking for that special dress. Nightly dreams were focused on that perfect occasion as she envisioned it in her mind, time and time again.
The memorable night was quickly approaching, and everything had been choreographed to the finest detail, but Suzie had a problem. She didn't have a date.
In the beginning, it was something she rarely worried about, but as time grew short, so did her options. After a while, it began to seem as if no one was going to ask her to the prom. And, In the end, no one did. Instead of enjoying her precious moment with all of the other kids, Suzie stayed home; curled up on her bed. Her dream had become a nightmare as she cried herself to sleep.
Today's date is November 27th, 2015. Unlike the story above, we're in a different season -- The holiday season. My pastor has reminded the congregation of this, as the date of the annual Christmas concert draws near. Christmas invitations have been printed, and we are urged to think of someone to invite. We're not encouraged to invite just anyone, but someone who doesn't know Jesus. It's an opportunity for people to hear the Gospel, and some may finally make the life-altering decision to follow Christ.
Over six months ago, I was engaged in a conversation. This person, and I, had somehow gotten on the topic of religion, and he told me that he used to be a Christian but had chosen to abandon his faith.
He told me that,when he was young, he had a question about Christianity. He went to his parents, and others that he knew, in a search for an answer to his question. Rather than give him an answer, he was scolded, and punished, for choosing to ask a question. This bothered him greatly, and, in the end, he decided to follow a different religion.
We continued to speak about spiritual things, and at one point he became very critical of me. He was upset that I had never asked him what his question was -- the question that had gotten him into trouble. So I asked him about the question. He then became even more critical, explaining that it was now too late for me to ask; insinuating that if I really cared, I would have asked in the beginning.
Long before that conversation, I remember someone once saying that they felt hurt, left out, or uncared for, that their neighbor had never invited them to church. I also recently read an account of someone who didn't go to church simply because they were never asked.
When I think of these accounts, I can't help but think of how tragic all of them are. I suppose you could argue that it's sad that no one asked, or invited these people. However, what's truly tragic, to me, is that people choose to miss out on something great due to simple inaction. Instead of claiming something, that is open to them, they choose to miss out.
The Bible says the following:
"Jesus said to him, 'There was once a man who was giving a great feast to which he invited many people. When it was time for the feast, he sent his servant to tell his guests, 'Come, everything is ready!' But they all began, one after another, to make excuses. The first one told the servant, 'I have bought a field and must go and look at it; please accept my apologies.' Another one said, 'I have bought five pairs of oxen and am on my way to try them out; please accept my apologies.' Another one said, 'I have just gotten married, and for that reason I cannot come.' The servant went back and told all this to his master. The master was furious and said to his servant, 'Hurry out to the streets and alleys of the town, and bring back the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.' Soon the servant said, 'Your order has been carried out, sir, but there is room for more.' So the master said to the servant, 'Go out to the country roads and lanes and make people come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you all that none of those who were invited will taste my dinner!'"