Consider What You Do

Elder David A. Bednar’s address “Put On Thy Strength, O Zion” caused me to consider what I am doing and where my priorities are. This happened as he related the parable of the marriage feast found in Matthew 13 starting in verse 31.

Declining the Invitation

The parable starts with a King making ready for the wedding of His son. Guests were invited and when the time for the wedding feast comes, the King’s servants are sent out to bid those who were invited to join. The invited guests all made excuses and declined the invitation to come to the feast.

There have been times in my life where I have declined invitations that, looking back on it, would have benefited me. One time my dad gave me the opportunity to make $100 if I would take care of a pile of wood. I declined his invitation even though it wouldn’t have been that difficult and I could have used the $100.

I remember several times being invited on dates in college and accepting them, only to decline them within a couple of hours. I’m not sure why in those cases I declined them, but I do know I missed out on an opportunity to have fun, make memories, and possibly lasting friendships.

Declining invitations made by the Holy Ghost can be detrimental to our spiritual well being. When we have a prompting, we should respond as the shepherds did on the night of Christ’s birth and go right away. Even if the invitation takes a long time to complete, as in the case of the Wise Men who travelled a great distance to see the Christ child, it will be worth it.

Given Garments of Royalty

The parable next talks about bringing in those who are found on “highways” to invite and bring them into the feast. Those invitees accepted the King’s bidding and came to partake of the feast that was prepared. In those times, each participant of a wedding was to acquire a wedding garment. In this case there was no time for those invited to procure such a garment. The King therefore provided everyone who came with a suitable wedding garment. This garment was a royal garment given freely to those who were willing to come to the wedding.

As members of the church we have the opportunity to wear royal garments as we enter the temple and make sacred covenants with God. It is no coincidence that we call these garments. They have significance to us and remind us of the invitations (covenants) we have accepted. We should treat this as an honor bestowed upon us from our Heavenly King.

My youngest daughter attends a charter school where they have a dress code. There is a “uniform” they are to wear each day at school. This is similar to the garments the King provides in the parable. The uniform shows that the students have accepted the invitation to attend this charter school and are willing to partake in the education provided. The school provides an environment where the students get a diverse education that readies them, not only for college, but for life as an adult.

Going in Another Way

As the King surveys the wedding feast, He observes one of the guests not wearing the wedding garment. He calls the guest over and asks him why he is not appropriately attired. The man has no answer for why he is not dressed in the garment required of him. In fact, it appears that he has willfully decided to not abide by the King’s rules and has come into the feast another way. The King doesn’t hesitate to pronounce judgment on the man and quickly has him cast out of the feast.

There is no way to sneak or break into the Kingdom of God. If we want to enter, we have to do so by the gate He has prepared. Unlike the parable, there will be no way to enter the Kingdom and partake of the fruits except by that gate. No one will be able to sneak his way under or over the border. No one will be able to break through the border and enter. It won’t be possible.

Things have to be done in God’s way. The man in the parable “desired the honor of attending the wedding feast but did not want to follow the custom of the king. He wanted to do things his own way.” We see this in today’s society where people want to do things their own way and try to change God so that He will allow it.

However, God is the same, “yesterday, today, and forever”. As Isaiah puts it “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). We cannot and must not assume that because we want to do things our way that God will accept that. He wants us to accept His ways as they are.

My youngest son has an issue similar to this. He will be given a task and is expected to do it a certain way. However, he almost always comes up with his own way to do it. This doesn’t work in a lot of situations. When we try to explain this to him, he states “well this is the way I do it and so it’s fine.” Unfortunately, it’s not fine and he has learned that the hard way in school and on the job.

Called and Chosen

The last statement in the parable is “For many are called, but few are chosen.” In the parable, the invited guests were called, but declined and hence missed out on the wedding feast and any honors that would have come from it. They were not chosen to receive the King’s good graces. Those brought in from the highway were then called and as many as came and wore the wedding garment and followed the other rules of the wedding feast were chosen to receive whatever blessings the King wanted to bestow on them. The man not wearing the wedding garment was also called, however, due to his rebellion he was not chosen and then cast out.

What does it mean to be chosen? “To be or to become chosen is not an exclusive status conferred upon us. Rather, you and I ultimately can choose to be chosen through the righteous exercise of our moral agency.” Basically we can, like those who were invited from the highways and wore the garment, become chosen as we live the gospel, keep the commandments and choose to follow Christ.

In Doctrine and Covenants 121:34-35 we find another reason as to why we are not chosen. When our “hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men” we choose not to be chosen. This is not to say that we should not do certain “worldly” things like work. However, when we don’t prioritize the things of God appropriately, we run the risk of being overcome by the world and losing out on the blessings God has in store for us.

Consider Your Ways

Haggai 1:5 states “Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways”. We should always take time to evaluate our priorities and ensure that we are looking at doing what is most important in our lives.

I know there are times where I am looking for what to do in my day. I have choices like gospel study, watch a show, watch sports, work in the yard, take a walk, do a household chore, etcetera. What I choose to do is important for how I will evaluate myself at the end of the day. Also, some things might take precedence. If there is a leak in the sprinklers, I should choose do yard work to take care of the leak. When there isn’t a pressing matter and the choice is left up to me, then I should choose God first and world second.

Setting goals is a good way to ensure that we put things in their proper order. As I’ve stated before, immersing myself in the life of Christ is one of my current goals. This goal should guide my choice when looking at what I should do with my free time. I also have goals around learning and fitness. Prioritizing those goals will help me to put God first and the world second.


We have all been invited to God’s Kingdom. If we accept His invitation and follow His rules we can be chosen to partake in Eternal Life. We must do our part and prioritize the things of God above the things of the world. We must also not fall into the trap of thinking that we can do things the way we want. God has His ways and we must follow them instead of trying to do things our own way and expecting Him to accept it.

Tips for Teaching

When teaching this topic, you might consider the following:

  1. Ask the class if there has been a time in their lives where they declined an invitation only later to realize declining was a mistake. Discuss why it is important to accept God’s invitations and to follow the covenant path.
  2. Discuss how God’s ways are higher than our ways. Talk about why we want to do things “our own way” even when God has told us how to do them.
  3. What does it mean to be called? What does it mean to be chosen? What do we have to do in order to ensure we are chosen?
  4. Give the class a pencil and a piece of paper and have them write down what their priorities are. Quote Haggai and ask how they can “consider [their] ways.” and how it will benefit them to prioritize the things of God over the things of the world.

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