I read of a family that moved into the neighbourhood and the Anglican church decided to reach out to them. When they arrived at the doorstep the members of the church were surprised to find that the family had 12 kids and were quite poor. They invited the family to church and said goodbye. Later that week the church responded to their need. They delivered a package to the family and said, "We want you to know that you and your entire family are welcome at our church anytime. We have bought you these gifts and we want you to feel comfortable and at ease in our congregation. We hope you can use these," and they left. The family opened the package to find 14 suits of beautiful clothes for every member of the family. Sunday came and the congregation waited for the family, and they waited. The family didn't come. Wondering what could have possibly happened, after lunch the members of the church returned to the home and found the family just coming back home, all dressed in their new clothes.
"We don't mean to be nosey but we would like to know what happened. We had hoped to see you this morning in church," the Vicar inquired.

The father spoke up. He said, "Well, we got up this morning intending to come. And we really valued your invitation. But after we showered, shaved, and dressed, why we looked so smart we went to the Catholic Church."
That's a funny way of talking about a serious problem. Invitations are sent to many to come to church but so few people respond. It's frustrating. Many of you will have invited neighbours, family, or friends to come to church and you know all too well with disappointment, how few respond.
Jesus concluded the parable with these solemn words: "Many are called, but few are chosen."
On the face of it the story sounds rather harsh, and it is. But if we look a little closer we will understand that in God's Kingdom:

1) Everyone Is Invited to the King's Banquet.

How are people invited? One way is the Bible.

Jesus has sent everyone an invitation. You will find his invitations in here. (Hold up a Bible.) The Bible is full of invitations from Jesus. He says, "Whoever is thirsty, let him come and take the free gift of the water of life." (Rev. 22:17) He says, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) He says, "Let the little children come to me, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." (Matthew 19:14) Jesus has invited us to come to him, and yet, some people make excuses.

Another way is through us. People may see us leaving home on Sunday well dressed, but what will really impact them is how we live. This may be the most powerful invitation they ever receive, though this does not mean that we should not verbally invite them to church and church events.

They may say that they are too busy, but what they are really saying is it is not important enough. Something else is further up my priority list. Staying in bed; playing sport or some other leisure activity; going shopping...

Everyone has an invitation to the King's banquet. In Jesus' day and culture it was ridiculous to think that you would refuse such an invitation. It would be seen as treasonous. A rebellion against the authority of the King.

Those who reject or ignore God can do so, but this parable warns of the consequences. It also warns of the picture that many people have of God as a gentle, bearded, old man, patting everyone on their head and forgiving them. We have a God who will judge people by their response to his grace and those who have rejected Him will bear the consequences, eternally. It makes sense. It honours people's choice. God will not force himself on those who don't want to relate to Him.

2) Not Everyone Will Respond to the King's Invitation.

Two ways of refusal in this story. Those who didn't come and those who came in their everyday clothes.

For wedding banquets guests would be expected to wear clothes that were both longer than those worn by ordinary people on working days and also newly washed. Those who could afford it would wear white, but it was sufficient for ordinary people to wear as near to white as washing their poorer quality clothes could achieve. Poor people, who might own only one patched tunic and cloak each, would often borrow clothes for occasions such as weddings or religious festivals

The man accepts the invitation but, by wearing his everyday, soiled clothes, shows only contempt for the King This man is no more worthy than those who rejected the invitation. They spurned the invitation to the feast; he rubbishes the feast while actually attending it. In effect, he has not really accepted the invitation, since the invitation is not just to be physically present at the feast but also to participate in the king's rejoicing over the marriage of his son.

What was required is that willingness to honour the occasion, to rejoice with the king, to be a real guest at the wedding, which wearing a wedding garment expresses

Clothing is a common New Testament picture for spiritual change.

Paul wrote in Romans, "Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature" (Rom 13:14).

And in First Corinthians, "The perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:53).

In Colossians, we read, "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12).

Finally, in First Peter we are told, "All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble'" (1 Peter 5:5).

Wearing new clothes is a consistent New Testament expression for holiness and righteousness. The old clothes have to come off and new ones put on.
This text confronts us with the paradox of God's free invitation to the banquet with no strings attached and God's requirement of "putting on" something appropriate to that calling. The theological point is that we are warned of the dire consequences of accepting the invitation and doing nothing except showing up.

3) The King Chooses Who Can Stay.

14 "For many are invited, but few are chosen." The many could refer to the Jewish people in Jesus' day. It could also apply to the many people who profess to be Christian, but it makes little difference to their worship and everyday living. 72% called themselves “Christian” in the 2001 census.

The few are those who came to radical, life changing faith in Jesus through the work of God's Holy Spirit.

This stark warning is to motivate all those who have received God's gracious invitation to change and be changing. To be a Christian has got to involve action. We have to follow the example and teaching of Jesus every day, even when it is difficult, costly, and exposes us to ridicule because of the clothes we wear.

Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some people will ever read. What are people reading in your life? Are they reading that you faithfully attend church and look smart? Or, do they read that these things are secondary in comparison to your love and compassion for others? As someone once said, "People don’t really care how much you know, until they know how much you really care."

I read this testimony recently,

I go for a swim each day, walking up to the local sports centre. On this occasion, I had to pop into the bank, so, unusually, had my wallet on me. As I was choosing which crossing to use, my attention was drawn by a commotion. Just the other end of the nearer crossing, a bearded man in a black leather fringed jacket was kicking in the phone box. We had just had a week of riots in London, and this sight was violent and concerning.

The Lord’s still, small voice said, ‘Go up to him and talk with him.’ As I got nearer I could hear the expletives; when I got up to him, I could smell the alcohol and cigarettes. What should I say? The words came: ‘Did it swallow your money?’

He looked uncomfortable and apologised for swearing.

Here, I can give you a pound.’ I reached into my bag. And then it all poured out. He had been trying to contact the hospital to ask about his son’s progress through a brain tumour operation, complicated by three haemorrhages surrounding the tumour.

Distraught, he then told me that his wife had died of a brain tumour only ten months earlier. He had picked up one of two identical mobile phones that morning – the one without any credit. I then told him I was a Christian, and offered to pray with him. To my surprise he said yes and we prayed for his son, the need for news, and for God to bless him in the name of Jesus. I gave him a pound, and he left to find another phone box.

After finishing at the bank, I walked on to the pool. With no knowledge of my plans, he was standing outside the sports centre when I arrived. His son had been brought through to recovery. He did not know whether the boy was through the woods for the future, but was visibly relieved.

God wants to use his people to touch lives. A few weeks before, I had been too embarrassed and scared to follow his call to speak to a different person. I am truly grateful that he heard my prayer of repentance, and gave me this opportunity and gentle guidance through it.

Anonymous. from  christianity today