My wife and I went to a wedding recently. It was a beautiful traditional church wedding as a young Christian couple exchanged their sacred vows and joined hands in holy matrimony. Following the wedding, my wife and I, and all the other guests along with the wedding party joined for the reception at a college hall several miles away.
The happy occasion brings to mind a sad story about a professional singer and her husband who were turned away at a very extravagant wedding reception they were invited to attend one time. Ruthanna Metzger and her husband Roy were excited about going to the reception. She was the singer at the wedding of a very wealthy man. And the invitation indicated the reception was to be held on the top two floors of Seattle’s Columbia Tower, the Northwest’s tallest skyscraper.
When they arrived at the site, there were waiters wearing tuxedos offering hors d’oevres and fancy foods to the guests. The bride and groom were standing at a gorgeous staircase of glass and brass that led up to the top floor. A satin ribbon extending across the stairs at the bottom was ceremoniously cut. The announcement was made that the couple was about to enter. The guests would follow the bride and groom up the stairs as the feast and festivities were about to begin.
Ruthanna and Roy were among the other guest as they arrived at the top of the stairs. They were greeted by the maitre d’ who was holding a bound book outside the entrance doors.
The maitre d’ asked, “May I have your name, please?”
Ruthanne announced their names: “My name is Ruthanna Metzger and this is my husband, Roy.” The maitre d’ searched the M’s in his book.
“I’m not finding your name. Would you spell it, please?”
Ruthanna spelled it very slowly. The maitre d’ look at the list again, and said, “I am sorry but your name is not here.”
“There must be some kind of mistake. I am the singer. I sang at the wedding.
The gentleman responded, “That doesn’t matter who you are and what you did, you must have your name written in the book or else you cannot enter the banquet.”
Just then, he motioned to a waiter and said, “Show these people to service elevator, please.”
They were escorted past the beautifully decorated tables, the whole smoked salmon, and the magnificent carved ice sculptures. Next to the banquet area, an orchestra was prepared to perform with musicians all dressed in dazzling white tuxedoes. But Ruthanna and husband were escorted to the service elevator, heading to the parking garage to miss it all.
The rejected couple located their car. Driving several miles in shocked silence, Roy reached over and put his hand on Ruthanna’s arm. “Sweetheart, what happened?”
Tears swelled in her eyes. “When the invitation arrived I was busy. I never bothered to RSVP. Besides, I was the singer. Surely, I could go to the reception without returning the RSVP.”
(As cited in Heaven, by Randy Alcorn)
This story fittingly illustrates the bitter disappointment and rejection that many will face when Jesus returns to earth. The Bible compares this event to a great wedding feast. Revelation 19 portrays the future time when the marriage takes place between the Lamb (Jesus) and the Bride (the church) at Jesus’ second coming:
6 Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. 7 Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; 8 it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”—for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. 9 And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” (English Standard Version, ESV)
The invitation to attend the Supper is extended, in this life, to all who choose to convert to Christ as Saviour. But, to reserve a seat for this glorious occasion, each one must first send in his or her reservations.
The living hope we have through Jesus is to enter the Kingdom of God on the earth when he comes. This is the time believers expect to receive a priceless inheritance including eternal life.
According to Peter the Apostle, this inheritance is being “reserved in heaven” with Jesus until the Day he appears and gives it to all believers (1 Peter 1:4).
According to Revelation 22:12, Jesus predicted, “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done,” (NASB).
Notice that the reward for making our reservations now is timed to be received at the coming of Christ. The reward of eternal life is not received at death like some presume but it will be awarded to believers by Christ when he comes down from heaven. For now, it is being reserved in heaven where Jesus abides at God’s right hand.
Unfortunately, there will be many who will be shocked and surprised to learn that they won’t be allowed to enter the Kingdom of God when the marriage feast takes place. They will assume that just because they are good persons who’ve done a lot of good things will be allowed to enter. But when it’s time for the feast to start, their names will be not be found on the RSVP list. They will be refused to join in the happy occasion because they did not accept the invitation to put on Christ through faith, repentance, and baptism as the Bible teaches (Acts 2: 38; John 3:6; 1 John 5:12).
Sadly, not unlike Ruthanna Metzger, some are too busy to RSVP. They plan to get around to answering the call to accept Christ, but put it off. Many know they should change their lives and get serious about following the Lord, but they have other priorities. It’s apparently easier to rationalize and believe God will give them a free pass to enter because they never did anything “wrong” in their view. But all of us must not forget this warning: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall,” (1 Corinthians 10:12, King James Version, KJV).
In Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus tells the parable of the ten virgins which illustrates the need to be ready. We do not want to be like the five foolish virgins who did not prepare their lamps for the coming of the bridegroom. We do not want to be left out of the greatest celebration of our lives by thinking that just because Jesus hasn’t come yet, we have plenty of time to be ready. Rather, we want to be as the five wise virgins who had their oil supplies and lamps and lives all set for that Great Wedding Day.
As we anticipate the Marriage Feast, we have to ask ourselves now, “Is my name written there, on the RSVP list?” Have I made my reservations yet? We do not know when the Bride will come for his Bridegroom and the Kingdom of God will start. So we must be prepared now.
There’s a refrain in an old hymn titled, “Is My Name Written There?” taken from Revelation 20:12, 15 (See also, Psa. 69:28; Luke 10:20; Rev. 3:5.). (Words: Mary A. Kidder; Music: Frank M. Davis) that says,
Is my name written there,
On the page white and fair?
In the book of Thy kingdom,
Is my name written there?
When driving to the wedding reception of our friends that day, I shared Ruthanna’s story with my wife, relating it to the scriptures that speak of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Then, it suddenly occurred to me: Maybe I should make sure OUR reservations were made.
I turned to my wife in the car and asked, “You DID RSVP this reception, right?”
“Yes, I did,” she said reassuringly.
I wiped my brow. “Whew!”
Good News to You,