We all get them.
Birthday parties, dinner celebrations, baby showers, and golden anniversaries are announced to us by little pieces of white card-stock embossed in gold, the raised print detailing the highlights and requesting our presence.
And that little white card begs a decision that is often based, not upon the busyness of our schedule or the depth of obligation, but the relationship we have to the one who has invited us.
The closer the friend, the more important the invitation, and the more we will strive to accept it – even to the point of sacrifice.
Did you know that you and I are recipients of a divine invitation today?
The staggering, awe-inspiring, incomprehensible truth is this:
The God of all power, who created all things invisible and visible, who stands outside of time, who is high and holy, who inhabits eternity, willingly invites you and I to come, not to a party, but to His Presence…again…and again…and again.
There’s something powerful about picturing this invitation to commune with God as an invitation to a table, like the picnic table pictured above. This particular picnic table was in the middle of the ‘wilderness’ in a sense – off in the country, secluded, at a retreat center north of Pittsburgh.
It didn’t look the greatest. The pelting rain had eroded the once-vibrant paint. The “cutting locust…swarming locust…hopping locust…[and] destroying locust” (Joel 1:4), as it were, had eaten away at some of the wood.
And yet there it sat. Unmoving. Beckoning. Inviting fellowship.
Again…and again…and again.
How like God’s invitation to us that picnic table is!
Perhaps there was a time when our communion with God was sweet, vibrant and new.
We ran to His table eagerly, desiring to spend all the time we could with Him, near Him. It was beautiful and shiny and pristine.
But then the rains of life pelted down, the “locusts” of sin, doubt, and despair ravaged, and our table with the Lord began to wear down. Chips marred the paint. Rust corroded the bolts.
We look at our once-beautiful table and sorrow over its lost beauty.
But the amazing truth is this:
Even when the storms of life come…
Even when the innocence of early faith has spoilt…
Even when our relationship with God doesn’t look like it used to…
The Divine invitation to us still stands. Unshakable. Unmovable. Undaunted.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matt. 11:28)
Everyone who thirsts, come to the water…and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. (Isa. 55:1)
If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me to drink. (John 7:34)
I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me. (Rev. 3:20)
The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come!’ (Rev. 22:17)
God is waiting. The invitation is open.
How will we respond?
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies…[I] shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace.” Psalm 23:4 (KJV) & Isaiah 55:12a (NKJV)