Well, I’m recovering, now, from hosting our daughter’s wedding a week ago. I never realized how much work, effort and sacrifice go into such an endeavor. This was my first time putting on something big, and this was a small wedding of 90. I can’t imagine one of these huge weddings with hundreds of guests. And through it all I learned something really important about the RSVP.
I grew up in a large, pretty much dysfunctional family. The eighth out of nine kids I pretty much followed the train. My mom was pretty much narcissistic so anything to do with invitations was all about her and nothing really ended up getting down to my end of the pecking order. So etiquette and protocol weren’t important to me, I just followed the crowd. When I was old enough to actually get an invite I didn’t know what RSVP was for let alone what it meant. I’d figured you thought enough about me to invite me, of course you can assume I’ll be there. And then later in life, for me it was more like a definite maybe, so I never thought about sending it back either, even though the price was paid.
So what does RSVP mean? It is an initialization derived from the French phrase répondez s’il vous plaît, meaning “Respond, if you please”. As I learned from the wedding, the sender NEEDS your response. We need to have an accurate count to order food, seating, tables and all the other trifles. The host is going to be spending a deal of money per invited guest and needs to know the tally. Even with an RSVP, you’ll have those that respond that they are coming and don’t show for some reason and those that don’t respond and do show up. It’s a nightmare of planning, and inconsiderate of the bride and groom. There may be some uninvited that could have come had they known who the no shows would be.
All this set me to thinking about the biggest RSVP of all, a wedding banquet invitation sent out over 2000 years ago.
Jesus offered Himself up as the ultimate sacrifice, covering the sins of man as a gift, offering it up as a gift to any who will accept it. He makes that invitation with an RSVP, and a required answer. In Luke 14:16-23 Jesus talks about a certain man giving a great feast and inviting many guests, and when the time came they started coming up with bogus excuses so he then invited the lame and the poor and there was still room so he ordered the servants to go to the roads and the highways and invite all who would come. I believe He, Jesus, was letting the Jews know, in advance, that they would in fact reject the invitation and that the invite would go to the Gentiles.
There is also the problem with sending the RSVP saying that you’re coming, yet not show up. In Matt 13:1-23 Jesus talks about scattering the seed and it falls on rocks and comes up quickly, only to be scorched and burned up or the plants come up and weeds (cares of the world) choke them. You can still declare that you are coming to the banquet but find something else more important, to your loss.
In another case, there are party crashers. In Matt 22:8-14 the King comes to one who isn’t wearing wedding clothes. When asked how he got in the feast without wedding clothes the man was speechless and was thrown out. There are those that put on religion, pretending to have sent the RSVP yet find themselves without a seat, naked before Jesus. In Matt 7:21-23 Jesus declares, quite frankly, that some who we think will be caught up in heaven with us will in fact be thrown into hell. Also see Hebrews 6:4-6.
Sending in an RSVP is serious business I found out. It is needed for accountability, and everyone needs to be accountable for themselves. In the world as we know it, it is courteous, in God’s economy, it is dead serious. What about you? You’ve been invited. Have you sent in your RSVP? Are you making serious plans to attend? Don’t let this moment pass you by. Jesus is calling your name right now. He has sent you an RSVP with a return envelope already stamped. You just need to accept the invitation. Lord Jesus, I accept that I am a sinner and you are my only way out. Take me as I am, clean me up and let me attend your wedding banquet, I want to be yours. Amen.
Pray that prayer and follow Jesus through His word, welcome His Holy Spirit, don’t be left behind…