Skip to content ↓

Why Those Who Seem Most Likely to Come, Never Come At All

Why Those Who Seem Most Likely to Come, Never Come At All

It is something we have all observed at one time or another and something we have all wondered about. Why is it that those who seem most likely to come to Christ so often reject him? Why is it that those hear the boldest invitations and who have the greatest opportunities so commonly turn away? Robert Macdonald once pondered this in helpful ways in light of the parable of the Great Banquet (Luke 14:15-24).

In the parable of the Great Supper—designed to set forth the fulness of redemption and the generous freeness with which it is offered—those to whom the servant was first sent might have been thought the worthiest to get the invitation, and the likeliest to accept it. They were the respectable, the industrious, the well-to-do— men who had ground of their own, and oxen of their own. But not one of them would come. Though civil to the servant and respectful, yet with one consent they began to make excuse. Thus the likeliest to come first never came at all, and entirely missed the feast with all its joy.

Not succeeding in his first attempt, and with the first class, the servant had to go out a second time,—not an easy thing to do after such previous failure. Fishermen have little heart to cast in the net again, if all the night before has been one of weary and fruitless toil. So this servant, after such discouragements in the beginning, would have but little heart for renewed message-bearing, especially to another and seemingly outcast class, in the streets and lanes, the highways and hedges. Nevertheless, at his master’s command, he went forth and did as he was enjoined, with cheering results.

How often is it that those who were expected to be the first to welcome this salvation are the very last to do so, if ever they do so at all!

—Robert Macdonald

Now, in like manner, Christ’s servants still go forth with the invitations of grace, commissioned to tell that all things are ready; and in particular, that in and through Christ, forgiveness, acceptance, adoption, and peace, yea, and all redemption blessings, are provided in richest fulness, and yet without price. Nevertheless, how often is it that those who were expected to be the first to welcome this salvation are the very last to do so, if ever they do so at all! And why? Simply this: they are too busy with other pursuits; the farm and the family take up all their time and thoughts. In all such cases, ‘I cannot come’ is the alleged reason, but ‘I will not come’ is the real one; for when the heart is true the duties of the farm never interfere with the privileges of the feast, nor is it ever found that there is any necessary antagonism between family joys and the joy of the Lord.

A dying child, urging his father to repentance, said, ‘Father, I am going to heaven; what shall I tell Jesus is the reason why you won’t love him?’ Such a question might well startle any rejecter or neglecter of the great salvation.

  • How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation? (Hebrews 2:3)
  • And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. (John 5:40)

  • A Batch of New Books for Kids

    A Batch of New Books for Kids (and Teens)

    Every month I put together a roundup of new and notable books for grownup readers. But I also receive a lot of books for kids and like to put together the occasional roundup of these books as well. So today I bring you a whole big batch of new books for kids of all ages…

  • A La Carte Thursday 1

    A La Carte (March 28)

    A La Carte: The case against the abortion pill / What I’ve learned about grieving with hope / Heartbreaking deception: teen girls, social media, and body image / Could podcasts save the church from stupidity? / Count it all joy / and more.

  • What God Wants You To Forget

    What God Wants You To Forget

    We are never far from reminding God of our credentials, of providing him with a curriculum vitae that lays out all we are, all we have been through, and all we have accomplished for his sake. We are never far from making the subtle turn from grace to merit, from what is freely given to…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (March 27)

    A La Carte: New music / Millennials and GenZ / Scotland’s new hate crime law / Cate Blanchett, Easter is for you / Why the Reformed pray for revival / What truly happened to Jesus on the cross? / and more.

  • New and Notable Books

    New and Notable Christian Books for March 2024

    As you know, I like to do my best to sort through the new Christian books that are released each month to see what stands out as being not only new, but also particularly notable. I received quite a number of new titles in March and narrowed the list down to the ones below. I…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (March 26)

    A La Carte: God delivers from the suffering he ordains / The beautiful partnership of family and church / The end of religious liberty / On whales, menopause, and thanks to God / Ordinary women, extravagant gifts / and more.