“For many are invited, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14)

What does 'many are invited' mean?

Jesus said this directly following his parable of the wedding banquet, where Jesus described a king inviting people to the wedding of his son.

The Supreme Being is inviting all of us back home to Him. He wants every one of us to return to Him and resume our loving relationship with Him. 

For this reason, God sends His messengers to canvas us. He also sends us repeated messages from within. He teaches us continuously - through the lessons of this world and directly through His messengers - that this place is not our home, and we will not be truly happy until we return to Him and resume our original loving relationship with Him.

This is because He originally created each of us to exchange an individual loving relationship with Him. This can be seen all around us. Every one of us is looking to exchange a loving relationship with someone we can trust and rely upon. No one is exempt from this constant objective of seeking true love, because this is part of our inner nature.

At the same time, the Supreme Being gave us the ultimate freedom to choose to love Him or not. He never forces us. After all, how could we truly love someone if we were forced?

This situation is symbolized in the story of Adam and Eve. While God advised Adam not to pick and eat the fruit of the tree of life, God still put the tree there, in front of them. God could have made it so there wasn’t a tree there in the first place. He could have easily prevented them from picking its fruit. He could have at least put a big fence around it.

God not only put the tree there, but He allowed Adam to be easily able to pick its fruit.

This ‘tree of life’ is actually the tree of love: The tree symbolizes God giving us the choice to love Him or not. By picking the fruit, Adam was saying that he wanted his freedom from God. He chose self-centeredness over doing what God wanted. He wanted independence from God.

This equates to Adam choosing not to love God: Instead of obeying God and therefore putting God's wishes first - Adam chose to put himself first: He became self-centered.

God gave each of us this ultimate choice. The freedom to love Him or not. This is because love requires freedom. Could we really love God if we had no other choice?

What does 'few are chosen' mean?

Just as we have the choice to leave God, we have the choice to return to Him. We can decide at any time that we want to return to Him, and He will direct us on the path home.

At the same time, however, there are requirements to returning home to God. We cannot simply snap our fingers and get to return to Him. We have to change. Our consciousness must change from being self-centered to being God-centered.

This takes effort. And we have to be determined. We have to work at it. We must prove to God - and ourselves - that we really want to return to Him. We have to prove that it isn’t just a passing phase.

This is no different than any other relationship. Imagine if we had a girlfriend or boyfriend and we suddenly decided we didn't want to be with them anymore, and we broke up with them. This would certainly hurt them, yes? But what would happen if, after a couple of years, we casually contacted them and told them we want to resume our relationship with them. Would they immediately take us back?

Certainly, they would want us to be serious this time. They would want to know that we wouldn't whimsically leave again. In other words, we would have to prove (to ourselves and them) that we seriously wanted to get back together.

In the same way, should we decide we want to return to God, there will be many hurdles. We will be challenged. We will be tempted. We will be forced to make the decision on a daily basis. Sometimes we may even give in to the temptations of this world or not make it over a hurdle.

There is an expression for this: We might lose a fight, but this doesn’t mean we will lose the war. We must have the determination and reliance upon the Supreme Being: To get back up, dust ourselves off, and continue on the road towards re-establishing our relationship with Him. If we are serious about returning to Him, we must make a determined and sustained effort.

This is how the few are chosen. It is not that others choose us. God invites all of us to return to Him. But it is not necessarily easy. We must be determined. We must beg His forgiveness for wanting to abandon Him. We must ask the Supreme Being to help us return to Him. This will not be possible without God’s help. We cannot do it without Him.

This is the process of being chosen. It is not that God randomly chooses who He wants to return to Him. He gives those who are determined the strength to return to Him. Yes, we are the ones who make the choice. 

But as Thomas Kempis once wrote, man proposes and God disposes. This notion is derived from scripture:
Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails. (Proverbs 19:21)
Accepting the Lord's purpose means being ready to enter into God’s world, where the Supreme Being is the center. Currently, we think we are the center and everyone and everything revolves around me. This is the consciousness of the physical world. It is the opposite of the consciousness of the spiritual realm.

How do we get chosen?

This requires having a change of heart. Accepting the Supreme Being as the center of the universe, and my life revolves around Him. This consciousness marks the beginning point for an appropriate relationship with the Supreme Being.

This contrasts with many of the teachings of some institutions and their teachers who teach us to ask God for anything we want - like God is some sort of genie. They teach that God is just waiting around for us to ask Him for stuff - and we should pray to Him for money, success and health.

This self-centered approach to the Supreme Being will not result in being chosen. This consciousness still puts us as the center with God revolving around me.

Jesus illustrated the consciousness he wanted us to develop as he prayed to God:
“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39)