The Draft

Matthew 22

English Standard Version

The Parable of the Wedding Feast

22 And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, 3 and sent his servants[a] to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. 4 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, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ 5 But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7 The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.

11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”

When I was in high school registering for the draft was required of all young men of age. If your number came up you were chosen and you did not have a choice about which branch of service you would be inducted into. Many young men did not want to be drafted into the Marines. 

At the time a draftee received a military designation of US and an enlisted man received a designation of RA. In Vietnam it was seen as you were one of us or you’re just a Regular A.

Verse 14 above reminds me of that. Many signed up for the draft but only those whose number came up were chosen. It didn’t have anything to do with intentions, your number was up and you became one of us. Called or chosen, self-will or God’s will?

How you came to serve might not matter to those that died but if God chooses you it does matter.

“But I served you Lord?”

Matthew 7:23

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Sounds Like

Proverbs 18:2

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

What of the one who does take pleasure in understanding, what does that person sound like?

Does it depend on the position of the speaker? We might give more weight to the words of a doctor of theology even if his style of speech is filled with pride in achievement. We would try to be gracious hearers and refrain from negative emotions. Not all doctors have a pleasant bedside manner.

Do we realize how we sound to others? Do we take into account the listener who has our attention? Do we know them well enough to temper our speech to allow important messages to be received with good intentions?

I never cared for the firebrand speeches of the passionate pastor. Neither did I take one seriously that sounded like milk toast. Their words softened the message and took all the flavor out of the message. Most of us are not pastors or teachers but our manner of speech is important when we are attempting to witness the gospel to the lost.

Good intentions mean nothing to the offended. Even our tender speech can be received as offensive. We are offering our opinion to the lost. The gospel is the truth but we do not know the ground upon which it falls. We are asked to spread the gospel liberally but we do not have to throw it violently at the ground as if velocity will penetrate hardened soil.

Proverbs 15:1

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

We do not know what strangers define as harsh words. That changes nearly daily in this society and in a foreign land it is even more difficult to control.

It is difficult to be received in good faith if our faith does not temper our speech.