Which of these do you like better?
“You’re invited!” or “Everyone’s welcome!”
Holy buckets! There’s a big difference in my mind between those two phrases.
One is personal. The other is just permissive.
There’s going to be a Girls’ Night out. Or a BBQ. Some folks doing Kareoke. A church event. Lots of people are going. You know that because you’ve seen it on Facebook or read Tweets about it.
But you’re not invited.
If you asked, they’d probably say, “Sure, come! Everyone is welcome!” But that’s different from being personally invited.
It’s like the difference between “It’s fine for you to join us.” and “We really want you to come because we like you!” The difference between feeling like a groupie and feeling like a rock star. Feeling like weird Aunt Sally who we have to humor because she’s family, or feeling like the kid with the special red plate at the dinner table.
No one wants to show up where they’re just tolerated, or an after-thought. Everyone wants to feel specifically valued.
Yesterday I wrote about the inviting heart of God. As much as we’re called to imitate His posture of inclusion, we first need to know that He personally invites us. Calls us. Values us.
In August every year we go to the Willow Creek Leadership Summit. In the last talk by Bill Hybels this summer, the one thing that struck me was this prayer and the word “you”.
You have invited…You include…
Yeah, God says everyone’s welcome, but He also says you, specifically, are invited. And not just to a party, but a particular place in bringing His hope to the world.
When you’re not invited, you need to remember that really, you are. And the invitation is the most amazing one you’ll ever receive.
God invites you. He has a place for you. He has a role for you. Never doubt it.
Which do you need most today?
The reassurance that you, first, and most importantly, are invited by God, or the nudge to reach out and reflect His inviting heart to others?
Isaiah 43:1 Do not fear for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name. You are mine.
Rev. 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with them and they with me.
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.