Aren’t those words magical?! You feel special. Included. Valued. There’s a sense of anticipation.
One of the things I love most about God’s character is that He is an inviter. A “welcome to the party” God… An “I’ve been waiting for you to arrive!” God… A “Come as you are” God…
He’s the Host at the Banquet, the Greeter at the door, the Provider of refreshment for those who are hungry and thirsty.
One of my favorite stories of invitation is in the Old Testament, in 2 Samuel 9:8-13.
David, the new king of Israel, calls Mephibosheth, the grandson of Saul to the palace. (You remember Saul – the former king and mean-spirited chaser of David).
Mephibosheth is handicapped, lame in both feet. As he shuffles into David’s presence he says, “Who am I that you pay attention to a stray dog like me?” David replies, “from now on I want you to take all your meals at my table.”
In that picture I think we’re meant to see all of us. All broken, unworthy, in need of help, but honored and invited to sit at the king’s table in spite of it all.
God gives us the privilege of being co-hosts for the kingdom of heaven party He’s preparing. He asks us to mirror His inviting heart.
Because Love includes.
It’s like Edwin Markham wrote,
“He drew a circle that shut me out-
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle and took him in!”
You are worth knowing. You matter. You are wanted. And so is your neighbor, your co-worker, your study partner, your nephew. Invite them to the party.
Because at God’s kingdom party, everyone’s welcome.
And anything can happen.
I’ve written here before about how I felt prompted to send out an invitation to a bunch of Jesus-loving friends to join me in a kind of radical spiritual experiment this summer. Five women showed up at my house the first night. All of them knew me, but none of them knew each other really.
And here’s what’s happened.
God totally amazed us. He knit us together and kicked us in the butts and refreshed us with laughter so loud our neighbors have been concerned.
We absolutely marvel at the Holy mischief God had up His sleeve when he brought us together.
And one night, we had one of those rare, hard, take off the make up, I’m-not-comfortable-being-this-vulnerable, teary conversations when we stopped, and looked at each other and said, “I think this is what God meant for Church to be.”
All of us broken, in need of help, and sitting together at a table with the King in our midst.
This was not my plan, but His prompt. A simple invitation. A living illustration of Church. Where everybody’s welcome, no one’s perfect, and anything can happen.
Is there a time when you’ve extended an invitation and seen God’s hand at work? Or a time when you’ve been invited and have been blessed?