Monday, July 21, 2014

An Unending, Open Invitation

Hey Friend,
My husband and I just got back from a business conference that he attended (I went along for the ride).  Before we went, my husband forwarded to me an invitation that he had received.  The invitation read: So and So's Estate & Wealth Planning Group invites you and a guest to join us for a Lowcountry Oyster Roast and Barbeque.  Date, Time, Location (Kiawah Island, SC).
Immediately I started having thoughts and questions...Who would be there?  Like my husband, would it be a lot of lawyers, bankers, estate and wealth planning professionals?  Would I feel out of my league?  After all it's been a long time since I worked in the business world.  Oh they're going to ask me the dreaded, "So what do you do?"  Would my resume be impressive enough? 
Then it morphed into what do I wear?  The invitation said "business casual".  Do yoga pants and a tank top count?  Suddenly I wished I had shed that extra ten pounds.  I recently had foot surgery and had graduated to wearing sneakers.  Sneakers and a that will impress 'em!  And don't even get me started on accessories!
About the time I got myself all worked into a tizzy, a favorite old hymn of mine mercifully popped into my head.  I knew immediately that this was a "God thing".  Let me share just two of the verses here:
Just as I Am, Without One Plea
Just as I am, without one plea,
but that thy blood was shed for me,
and that thou bidst me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
Just as I am, though tossed about
with many a conflict, many a doubt,
fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
Right away I was drawn to and focused on the word, "Come".  And how do I come? "Just as I am." 
Unlike earthly invitations, God's invitation is unending, open and bids us to come just as we are. 
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  (Romans 5:8)
How thankful I am that we don't have to get our act together first, in order to be invited.  God invites us while we are still sinners.
On Bible Gateway, I looked up the phrase, "Come to me".  I found 339 results.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."  (Matthew 11:28)
This is probably one of my favorite "come to me" verses.  Christ issues an awesome promise when we come to him...He promises us rest!
Let me share some other invitations found in the Bible:
In Exodus, the Lord said to Moses, "Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone with the law and the commandments I have written for their instruction." 
God says, "Come" and gives a gift of guidance
"Come follow me," Jesus said, "and I will send you out to fish for people."  (Matthew 4:19)
Jesus says, "Come" and gives purpose
"For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."  (Matthew 9:13)
Jesus comes to call sinners to himself
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."  (Matthew 19:14)
Jesus' invitation is universal
"Then come follow me."  (Matthew 19:21)
When Jesus invites us to come, He is prepared to lead
Unlike a one time invitation, the Lord issues an unending, open invitation.  The invitation doesn't discriminate between gender, color, age, sinner or righteous.  We are truly welcome to come just as we are with doubts, worries, a past, in spite of what we've done or not done.
We do not make ourselves righteous in order to come to God, but instead, Christ's blood cleanses us when we come as is!
If you wonder if you are invited?  Friend, you are!!  The cross bids you and me to come...come just as we are.  Come and be released of whatever it is that holds you down.  Come and be given freedom to dance.  Come and be loved, truly loved, just as you are. 
What a glorious invitation.  His loving heart has broken every barrier down.  Will you R.S.V.P. Yes, I will come?  I pray so... 
In His love,