THE IDOL CALLED MARRIAGE
When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”
Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready. But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’
Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’
Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’
Sir, the servant said, what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.
Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.
I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.
I would be shattered if the Lord told me, “you will not taste my banquet.” I would be crushed, if I were to be completely banished from His presence. Who else can cleanse my profanity like he does?
As I ponder about the parable, questions gush through my mind; Did they ever go to make up? Did they ever “repent” for their flimsy excuses? Were they forgiven? I don’t know. We might never know, for the Parable ends with these words, “not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.”
We all love feasts at least I do. I love huge celebrations. I love dressing up for occasions. So can you imagine being invited by the President to one of his banquets? Who wouldn’t look forward to it? Who wouldn’t be checking off dates on the calendar, shopping around for what to wear as the day got nearer? Who wouldn’t put aside every other plan for that day and patiently wait on for the D-day?
Sadly, this wasn’t the case as Jesus recounted. The man threw a huge feast and invited some of his special guests. Much to his astonishment, each began to give excuses as to why they wouldn’t be available.
The first one said that he needed to inspect his field. The second one said that he had to try his new oxen and the third one said that he had just gotten married.
I can imagine Christ’s reaction on the same. “Marriage? Really? You deny my invite for a mortal being?” “You can dare exchange my endless love for a cheaply pawned kind of love?”
Of course Christ is more gracious than my penned words!
He was infuriated that none of his special guests would honor his invitation. So he sent out his servant to bring in the blind, the lame, and anyone else who wanted to come.
As I read this words from our Lord, I could help think of those three guests who missed the invitation of Christ to His royal banquet on account of being “busy”. Whatever they had on the table, must have been important, but was it more important than dining with Christ?
How could the cares of the world overcome them that much? Truth be told, a care wouldn’t be huge enough to indulge in unless it’s an idol in one’s heart.
The three excuses represent the three biggest idols in our world. Work, Wealth and Marriage.
Idols that deter us from fully indulging in Christ. Idols that cloud our hearts. Idols that blind us to the spiritual realities, causing us endless anxiety, anguish and pain – even literal pain. These are the idols that threaten to tower high above the God of our salvation, but we must resist, we must fight, we must flee if need be.
God’s greatest gifts to mankind in form of work, wealth and marriage can serve as God’s greatest substitutes. He gave man dominion over the world and commanded the first man, Adam to have dominion, work and cultivate the land, but that same gift has since held us captive.
He gave us power to make wealth, but the enemy warps us into greed. He gives us marriage; it’s become His competitor. Our primary love, secondary to none.
We desire marriage more than the Lord of the marriage, so why should we expect it serve for our good anyway?
The idol called marriage.
Marriage is good gift. In as much as the world is cynical about it, in as much as its been perverted, in as much as its purposes have been re-aligned to suit our needs more than fulfill God’s purposes, His word is still flawless –Psalm 12:6, reigning supreme over every other research – Marriage is a good gift.
Lest we trivialize His word, every good and perfect gift comes from above, from our Father of lights, with whom there is no shadow of turning – James 1:17.
But there is an immediate danger in craving for marriage so much that every other being, thought, and thing runs behind it including our God. He says, do not worship any other God than me – Exodus 34:14.
The moment marriage raises its head above its creator, then we are practicing idolatry. Let’s not be fooled. Idolatry doesn’t just mean denying Christ, and the Power of the Holy Spirit, but its in putting everything else before your personal relationship with God.
So does this mean one shouldn’t desire marriage or enjoy the gift of it? Of course you can desire to have a beautiful family. The Bible says that marriage is a gift to be enjoyed. God would rather have us get married than be tormented by passions to a point of falling into sin.
There is no sin in desiring, but there is sin in our desires replacing our God. There is a glaring pit of darkness, if we let our desires have us to a point of controlling us.
God is not looking for emotional martyrs to serve Him. He is not looking out for men and women who wear long, serious faces in the name of “serving the Lord.” He looking for a people who are contented in Him, celebrating every opportunity He gifts them and love Him to a point of death.
He knows our desires, even without uttering a word about them.
Sure you must have waited for long. It’s understandable. We have all have waited on for something in this life – job, children, promotion, etc.
But God’s delay is never denial and that is where most of us fail the test of patience on. See, patience is not about “helping God” – since we can never help God. It’s a place of having full confidence in Him who knows when time is right for us as he cultivates His rightness- a right stand- in us too.
So when you compromise your salvation to “find a catch”, or because “you feel late”, then marriage is becoming your idol. When you compromise your salvation and invest yourself in a man who does not want an “spiritual girl” or a lady who gets tipped off for “overly invest in God”, then the relationship is an idol.
He ceases to be THE LORD over our mortal lives, if our relationships take more of us than HIM. Even if we might succeed at parading a form of godliness to others, to Him, we deny His ultimate power of salvation.
Marriage turns into an idol when the wait becomes too long to bear and our eyes move from beholding Christ to beholding the gift he is delaying us in. Like a toddler throwing tantrums at his/her parents, we become obsessed by the thought of marriage that it becomes magnified more than the Lord who holds our gift.
Why then do we think that it will bring out the best in us?
I have observed how our little one behaves when we bring home a box wrapped up in a shiny paper. She is all jubilant and can hardly wait for us to open it. A little delay makes her anxious, so she sees it best to throw a fit. Crying her lungs out, she shouts “Open it mammy, open it daddy! Open it.”
Further delay will send her sprawling on the floor.
So we begin unwrapping it but her curiosity wouldn’t let her be. She tears the paper up, alas! It’s a box. Her efforts turnout naught as she struggles to open the box, eventually, she cries out, “help!”
All the while, we were watching her, after all, she didn’t want us anywhere near her. Eventually she finds her new toy. Excitement beams through her eyes. But then, she doesn’t know how the toy functions.
Still adamant, she shoves it up and down, side to side, her little knowledge whispering to her, “You know it all!” Doesn’t want us touching her toy. So we retreat back again.
She is sure the toy has to function in some way, but doesn’t know how. Eventually she calls out again, “help daddy!” “daddy, mommy, help!”
Daddy walks to her and gently shows her how the toy should function.
How amazing! She is settled.
But can you see the struggle she has had to go through? What if she just let us open the box? What if she let daddy explain to her from the get go, how the toy functions? Wouldn’t it be easier for all of us? Am sure it would have spared her some tears.
Such is the way of the Lord and our walk into the season of marriage.
Romanticized movies, books, plays, adverts may cheat our minds into thinking that we are ready for marriage. Our desires only heighten whatever the world has readily conjured for us. The truth is, you may not yet be ready for marriage.
As long as those feelings have you more than God, then marriage may never serve you right. An idol has no state of permanence.
You might get married because “you are in love”, but it will never be sufficient enough to wove the marriage tapestry together. You will put impossible demand on our spouses to fill what God ought to fill. You will be desirous of your spouse to be our ultimate joy, peace and everything in between – yet marriage, may never bring you ultimate peace.
Two sinners cannot be messiahs to each other.
There has to be a greater power, a greater help, a permanent bond that holds to imperfect beings together. God has to be God. Not our spouses, not the marriage, and certainly not the children. God.