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Before you decline an invitation, weigh the importance of the possible outcome if you decline. If you don’t accept, thank the host, apologize, and perhaps offer another time. If it’s a wedding, send a gift. But anyone who chooses to decline God’s invitation ought to think hard about the consequence. Jesus used a parable to stress this, found in Luke 14. He tells about a man who prepared a great feast, sent out many invitations, but when it was time to attend, they all made excuses. “One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I have just bought five pair of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I now have a wife, so I can’t come.’ The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.’” To decline human invitations is one thing, but to decline God’s invitation to enjoy eternal life has unthinkable consequences.

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