Do you know “Men in Black” with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones? Aside from the fact that the movie is really funny, there is one remarkable line that inspired me to write this post.
Agent “K” (Jones) sees the potential in New York cop James Edwards (Smith) that he could become the “MIB” afterwards. He invites him to a test in a secret facility and then says to him:
“Be there or be square!”Agent K
(by the way: in the German version K says “Erscheinen Sie, sonst weinen Sie!” – “Show up or you’ll cry!”)
I think that’s a great quote. And funnily enough, there’s a Bible story on a similar theme that Jesus tells.
Jesus answered him with a parable: “A man was preparing a great banquet to which he invited many guests. When everything was ready, he sent his servant to those who had been invited, saying, ‘Come! Everything is prepared!’ But everyone suddenly had excuses. One said, ‘I have bought a property, I must visit it. Please excuse me!’ Another: ‘I’m afraid I can’t. I have purchased five teams of oxen. I have to take a closer look at them now!’ A third apologized: ‘I just got married and therefore cannot come.’ The servant returned and reported everything to his master.Luke 14:16-21a
Maybe you know this, too: You want to have a party, but people cancel by the dozen. One person has to “finish the things for the presentation on Monday”. The other one has “too much to do!”. Still others “are totally stressed out!”. That may be – sometimes they are just excuses. Excuses that don’t want to hurt you or so that the person has a clear conscience. Because sometimes you would rather stay on the couch or you don’t like someone so much that you go to their party. But nobody would say that directly. It can also simply be that the things this person does are much more important than spending time with you. It all sounds quite hard, but unfortunately the world is not a pony farm. The fact is: You have invited, the potential guests stay at home or do something else…
The story by Jesus continues.
“Or be square”
The [man] became very angry: ‘Go right away into the streets and alleys of the city and bring in the beggars, the crippled, the blind and the paralyzed!’ The servant came back and reported, ‘Lord, I have done what you told me to do. But there are still places available!’ ‘Go out into the country roads,’ the master commanded, ‘and whoever crosses your path, bring him here! All are invited. My house shall be filled. But of those whom I invited first, no one will get a single bite.'”Luke 14:21b-24
I can understand the host getting upset and looking for other guests who would gladly accept the invitation. God invites every person to come to Him. To be His “guest”, to spend eternity with Him. Since the beginning of time, God has been courting us humans as His party guests. But many, unfortunately, refuse the invitation. You too? That would be a real pity!
You can accept God as a guest at any time. Take the chance. Say a prayer and go on your way!
God tries hard for everyone. And not just once.
Everyone is invited to the party.
He invites you!
The party will take place in any case! With or without you.
At some point the party starts.
At some point the entrance is closed.
And then it is: “Be there or be square!”