“Again Jesus called the crowd to him…”
Mark 7:14 (NIV)
The longer we live the more invitations we will receive for a variety of activities. We will have invitations to weddings, graduations, special birthdays, anniversaries, and so on. Many, if not all of them we are happy to receive and to respond, if possible, that we will happily attend the event. Many are “Best Wishes Only” events where the conveners of the affair simply wish us there to help celebrate the event.
Some years our budget groans under the load of expenses occasioned by the many letters of invitation that intimate a gift is required. We are happy to come, but we are dismayed that yet another gift must be bought, wrapped, and taken with us to the celebration.
In spite of the expense that comes with being invited to an event, we are honoured to be included among the favoured few who will attend. On the other hand, when we are the one sending out notices inviting people to something we have planned we carefully choose who will and who will not receive the announcement.
Those whom we invite to share our happiness on some occasion are exactly those people who mean the most to us, family, special friends, and so on. Strangers will not be among the guests we look forward to seeing on the special day.
As we read through the Bible we see many invitations sent out by our Creator encouraging us to come to Him to be reconciled to Him and be blessed by Him. The strange thing about God’s invitations is that they are indiscriminately passed out to anyone and everyone who will respond to Him. We may be selective as to who will be our guests but God is not selective in asking people to join His family and celebrate His goodness.
From time to time I meet people from two extremes who reject God’s invitation to come to Him. Some people truly think they are good enough just as they are and so do not need to be invited to come and be reconciled to God. They sincerely think they are rather good and God should accept them as they are. In the recent riots in Vancouver and England a lot of people discovered that they indeed possess evil inside of them and when the right opportunity came along it expressed itself.
These people, normally fine law abiding members of society, became lawless and destroyed property they did not steal. Where did that instinct come from? It was lying within the “decent” “normal” citizens who suddenly were given the opportunity to release their pent up frustrations.
Then there are people who have looked inside themselves and are horrified at what they see. These are people who do not think themselves worthy to be in God’s presence and so stay away.
But the invitation by God is still on the table. He invites all of us to come for what we need regardless of our present condition. As our text reads, “Again Jesus called the crowd to him.” Do you hear His call? Will you respond and come to Him for all that you need both now and forever?