Again he sent other servants, saying, "Tell those who are invited, See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast." Matthew 22:4
"God helps those who help themselves?"
Do you know in which book of the Bible that passage is found?
If you said, "None; the expression isn't in the Bible," you get an A for the day and get to move to the front of the class. On the other hand, if you did come up with a book and a verse, don't be too upset. Many people think those words are found in Scripture.
I think Pennsylvania's Arthur Phillips the III and his bride Brittany are among those who got the question wrong. The couple was recently arrested for shoplifting. Security cameras had managed to capture them stealing more than $1,000 worth of food from a local supermarket.
Would you like to know what these newlyweds were going to do with more than $1,000 worth of food? That's right! They were going to use it to feed the visitors who were coming to their wedding reception. (This is quite different than the host Jesus talked about in His parable. That man had cooked his own oxen and fat calves -- not those of someone else.)
As a parish pastor I have frequently run into many couples who, like this one, had some pretty messed-up priorities. Some couples were more concerned about the length of a church aisle than they were about the sermon the minister would preach. More time was spent picking a dress and a cake and an invitation than was spent selecting the church to which the couple would belong. And far more time was spent working on the wedding than was spent on making the marriage work.
Wrong priorities are almost always a bad thing.
Far better to have your priorities prioritized. Thankfully, Jesus gives us His suggestion on what that list should be. In Matthew 6:33 Jesus said, "But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Single or married, newlyweds or diamond-anniversary-celebrators, all of us would do well to follow Jesus' advice.
With the Savior the rest of things fall into place; without Him, nothing fits in place.
With the Savior the burdens of life can be carried, shared or removed; without Him, those burdens are stapled to our minds and hearts.
With the Savior there is forgiveness, without Him there is only an increasing weight of sins unremoved.
If yours are proper, give thanks to Jesus. Although troubles may still come your way, you can be fairly certain you won't be sitting in jail for trying to shoplift a dinner for your friends.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, You never forgot the saving of sinful souls was Your first priority. Now may I never forget believing in You ought always be mine. In Your Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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