"A certain man gave a great supper and invited many. He sent his servant at suppertime to say to those who were invited, 'Come, for all things are now ready.' But they all with one accord began to make excuses. So the master of the house told his servant, 'Go out into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind. Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled."Luke 14:16-18, 21, 23.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be invited to the White House with all its history and splendor? To perhaps sit with the President and chat about the things you always wanted to know or speak about? And how incredible it would be to receive an invitation to dine with the Queen of England where you would be received in high honor and dignity.
It is a wonderful thing to get an invitation to something special. And to know you were selected over many others as being worthy to attend such an occasion. I can remember many years ago attending a Tom Jones concert and wishing I could go backstage and get to meet this famous man. I knew it was an almost impossible dream for there were so many who had tried to get there and were denied. My dream of going backstage became a reality when an unlikely senior citizen of about 80 years old said by way of invitation, Would you like to see Tom Jones backstage? I almost laughed out loud for this seemed ludicrous that I would enter the inner sanctum this way. Since there were no other offers forthcoming I tagged along and much to my surprise she made her way with me in tow through the many guards who stepped aside courteously, and we entered the receiving room where she was invited to have of all things a beer. I sat quietly and had to keep reminding myself this was real. Then in came the star of the show who enveloped the old lady in a bear hug and in turn was introduced to me. I was speechless with excitement.
There is an invitation that surpasses all invitations and that is the one extended by God to all of us. It is one that exceeds any other and it comes from God Who created us, including the heads of state and country. His is an invitation of the highest order and with it comes a guarantee of life and joy without end. This is an invitation that never expires and as long as we are alive we can accept it.
We know God is infinite and can never die. Because of His great love for us He wants to give us this same gift of life forever. He wants this so much that He even sent His Son to die so that we have a way of expunging our sins through His shed blood. God wants us as His sons and daughters to live in His kingdom with Him. Just imagine that. Even the greatest of sinners have an open invitation to His kingdom. And to top off this incredible offer, Jesus has already paid the high price that we could never afford to pay. There is one condition however, and here is the important part, we must accept and acknowledge that invitation by being baptized, repenting of sin, and following the path Christ laid down for His people. And we must do it now before it is too late and all becomes lost.
What good is an invitation, no matter how grand, if it is tossed aside and ignored? If we disregard what is offered we reject our purpose which is to prepare ourselves for submission to Gods will. God has already sent out an encompassing call to all His people through His prophets, His disciples and most importantly Jesus Christ to come and receive everlasting life that is made manifest from the Father through the Son Himself. It is His gift to all of us and is valid only during our lifetime. Once we die, we cannot redeem it. We will not be able to sit at the table God has prepared for us. It will be too late.
Are we worthy of this invitation? No, we are not. But God takes us as we are as long as we have the desire to become one of His Family. He wants us to come willingly, just as we are, with our tattered souls, stained and filthy with sin. Like the biblical prodigal son coming home, He will declare us pure and sinless and make room for us at His table of plenty. We will be at peace, with the assurance that God will be there for us always. We mean that much to Him.
Through trust and faith there are things we too have to do in our lives, things we need to fix, things to clean up, things that we have let slip by because our humanity is imperfect. In order to appreciate what God has for us we will have to endure this life and all its complexities, for how then can we appreciate perfection unless we have lived through disappointment, suffering, and grief?
Satan wants to snatch away the invitation Jesus Christ so lovingly gives to us. But he cannot take it away from us as long as we can hold on to our faith and trust in God. His grace and mercy will be sufficient to see us through the allure of sin, past the temporary concerns and anxieties we will encounter. Through His grace we will find hope for our hopelessness and experience the peace that He will give us during our times of trouble.
The purpose of our lives is preparation for our eternal future. When we get invited to a special earthly banquet we prepare ourselves by getting our clothes cleaned and ready, our hair shampooed, cut or styled, and do all things to make ourselves presentable. But on this journey we do not need any more than our faith and the vision of God's promises. We carry only our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Anything else God will supply for this trip to our eternal home.
Like a mother calling her children to supper we must heed the Fathers summons. If we do not listen we deny ourselves the joy of being with God and His Son Jesus in eternal immortality. Saint Augustine, speaking to God, said You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You.
When God gathers His people to His abundant table, will the special chair He has made ready for you be empty? Are you willing to accept His invitation or will it remain on the table in front of your empty chair?
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if anyone hears My voice, and opens the door, I will come in to them, and will sup with them, and them with Me." Revelation 3:20
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