WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
OCTOBER 02, 2023
TOPIC: MANY ARE CALLED BUT FEW ARE CHOSEN
BY T. O. BANSO
“For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14 New King James Version).
Jesus used the phrase “For many are called, but few are chosen” on one occasion during His teaching. Earlier, He made nearly the same statement in Matthew 20:16b to round off His parable of the landowner who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard.
According to the parable, which was one of Jesus’ parables about the kingdom of heaven, the landowner hired the labourers at different hours of the day, and the last workers were hired at one hour to the end of the day’s work. But when he began to pay them, he started with those hired last and ended with those hired first. Those hired first had thought that having paid those who worked for only one hour one denarius a day, the landowner would pay them more than the one denarius he had agreed with them. But they were disappointed that all the workers were paid the same amount irrespective of the number of hours they worked.
Matthew 20:11-14 says, “And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner, saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.’ But he answered one of them and said, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you” (New King James Version).
Indeed, the landowner did not cheat the workers who were hired first. He paid them the amount he had agreed with them. But he also had the right to pay the other workers the same amount because it was his money. The first set of workers had no right to dictate to him how he should spend his money. The only thing they had a say in was how much they would be paid and the landowner had been fair to them by honouring their agreement.
This parable is not about the reward for labour. It was about grace. All the workers received the same grace to be brought into the vineyard to work. If the first set of workers had not been hired at all, they wouldn’t be complaining about the one denarius they were paid like the rest. Other workers in the marketplace who didn’t come to the vineyard were not entitled to any pay.
At the end of the parable, Jesus said, “So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen” (Matthew 20:16 New King James Version). My focus is on the second sentence: For many are called, but few chosen. Although this sentence is omitted in some Bible translations, it is nearly the same as what Jesus said in “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14 New King James Version). The only difference is in the word “are.”
In Matthew 22:14, Jesus used the phrase “For many are called, but few are chosen” to round off the parable of a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son. Despite receiving a prior invitation, when they were called to come for the wedding, the invitees all made excuses; they refused to come. Some of them seized the servants sent to them, treated them spitefully, and killed them. Consequently, the king was furious and sent out his armies to destroy the murderers and burn up their city. So that the wedding would not flop, the king ordered his servants to go to the highways and invite to the wedding as many as they found, both bad and good.
The wedding hall was filled with guests but when the king came and saw a guest not wearing the wedding clothes, which apparently were available to every guest, the king after asking him why he didn’t wear the wedding clothes, ordered his servants to bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, where there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then Jesus said, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” Some translations use the word “invited” instead of “called.” This sentence clearly refers to those invited originally for the wedding but refused to come and those who were eventually invited and came.
Salvation is for all. 1 Timothy 2:4 says God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9b). The invitation to be saved is to all. But not everyone responds to the invitation. Many are called but few respond to the invitation. Those who accept the invitation are those who are chosen. John 1:11-12 says “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (New King James Version).
We are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:5). Verse 8 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (New King James Version). That grace is not for some people. It’s for all but not all receive the grace. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11 New King James Version). The New Living Translation puts it this way: “For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people.”
Many are called but few are chosen. If you have heard the message of salvation in the past but have not given your life to Jesus, you cannot claim not to be called. If you are going to be among the chosen, you must respond favourably to the call. Many people who are called die without accepting the invitation and they, unfortunately, will spend their eternity in hellfire. John 3:18 says, “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (New King James Version). Do you believe in Jesus? “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16 New King James Version).
Many are called but few are chosen. Be among the chosen by responding to the invitation to come to Jesus today. Don’t make excuses like the guests originally invited to the wedding you read about earlier. Don’t seek to enter the kingdom of heaven on your terms – without wearing the wedding clothes, which is God’s righteousness. It cannot work. We are saved by grace, through faith, not by works, so that no one can boast.
Many are called but few are chosen. “Then one said to Him, ‘Lord, are there few who are saved?’ And He said to them, ‘Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able’” (Luke 13:23-24 New King James Version). God doesn’t stop people from entering the kingdom of heaven but some try to enter through the wrong way. Submit to God’s righteousness; don’t try to establish your righteousness. “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:3 New King James Version). Many are called but few are chosen.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I pray that all those yet to respond favourably to the invitation to be saved will come to Jesus today. Those who are making excuses will stop today and accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. Sinners will enter through the narrow gate. They will submit to the righteousness of God and not seek to establish their own righteousness in Jesus’ name.
(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947