@tabby68 I think that it is complex process for each of us to discern how God wants us to use our lives and that it is always wise to begin by resting in the grace of Jesus. If we rest in Him, the Good Shepherd will never fail to lead us where we need to be!
Regarding reward, I always think about it as Jesus being our reward. As Romans 8 says, if God has given us Jesus, how will He not also give us all things? Corinthians talks about a person’s work for God being of different value - gold, silver and straw. So, let’s say someone knows Jesus but then their teaching is unsound - perhaps they go to Heaven but the work they thought they were doing for the Lord did not have any substance. They would suffer loss because their work was in vain.
Romans 8:32 - He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
I Cor 3:10-15 - By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
Regarding Jesus’ other parables, I would need to study more to provide an in depth answer. It may even be worth starting another thread if you are interested.
What I generally do with a passage like Matthew 22:1-14 is think about it like this:
- “Many are called, but few are chosen” is a hard to understand statement and people debate its meaning
- However, it is clear that the people Jesus called - Israel - rejected His invitation to the wedding - Jesus is specifically rebuking the Pharisees
- Since Jesus’ invitation was rejected, He is inviting in everyone - whoever will come - bad or good
- Jesus talks about a man without a wedding garment - in the New Testament a wedding robe seems to symbolize salvation through Christ - having been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb
So, rather than go after the cryptic statement ‘many are called, but few are chosen’ which no doubt Jesus used because it made his listeners think - I go after the more obvious meaning. At the wedding feast of Jesus all who respond to God’s call will be there, but we must be made worthy of that call through salvation in Christ. He is the gate - and we must enter through Him.
Matthew 22:1-14 - Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven can be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his slaves to summon those who had been invited to the banquet, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Look! The feast I have prepared for you is ready. My oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.”’ 5 But they were indifferent and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. 6 The rest seized his slaves, insolently mistreated them, and killed them. 7 The king was furious! He sent his soldiers, and they put those murderers to death and set their city on fire. 8 Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but the ones who had been invited were not worthy. 9 So go into the main streets and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ 10 And those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all they found, both bad and good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11 But when the king came in to see the wedding guests, he saw a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ But he had nothing to say. 13 Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Tie him up hand and foot and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth!’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”
If we start a separate thread we can jump into these passages at a deeper level and take time to do a more thorough exegesis.