An Invitation

 

 

 

 

 

I shook my head in disbelief.  This couldn't be
the right place.  After all, I couldn't possibly be
welcome here.  I had been given an invitation
several times, by several different people, and
had finally decided to see what this place was
all about.  But, this just couldn't be the right
place.

Quickly, I glanced down at the invitation that
I clutched in my hand.  I scanned past the words,
"Come as you are!"  and found the location.
Yes, I was at the right place.  I peered through
the window again and saw a room of people
whose faces seemed to glow with joy.  All were
neatly dressed, adorned in fine garments and
appeared strangely clean as they dined at this
exquisite restaurant.

Ashamed, I looked down at my own tattered
and torn clothing, covered in stains.  I was dirty,
in fact, filthy.  A foul smell seemed to cover me
and I couldn't shake the grime that clung to my
body.  As I turned around to leave, the words
from the invitation seemed to leap into my mind
"Come as you are!"  I decided to give it a shot.

Mustering up every bit of courage I could find,
I opened the door to the restaurant and walked
up to a man standing behind a podium.  "Your
name, sir?" he asked with a smile.  "Justin A.
Simpleton," I mumbled without looking up.
I thrust my hands deep into my pockets, hoping
to conceal their stains.  He didn't seem to notice
the filth that I was covered in and he continued,
"Very good, sir.  A table is reserved in your name.
Would you like to be seated?"  I couldn't believe
what I heard!  A grin broke out on my face and
I said, "Yes, of course!"

He led me to a table and, sure enough, there was
a placecard with my name written on it in deep,
dark red.  As I browsed over a menu, I saw many delightful items listed.  There were such things
as ... peace, joy, blessings, confidence, assurance,
hope, love, faith and mercy.  I realized that this
was no ordinary restaurant.  I flipped the menu
back to the front in order to see the name of this
restaurant - it was called "God's Place of Grace."

The man returned and said, "I recommend the
'Special of the Day' and with it you are entitled
to heaping portions of everything on the menu."
He has to be kidding! I thought to myself.  "You
mean, I can have "ALL" of this?" I asked pointing
to the menu.  He nodded.  "Well, what is the
'Special of the Day'," I asked with excitement
ringing in my voice.  "Salvation," was his reply.
"I'll take it," I joyfully cried out.

Then, as quickly as I made that statement, the joy
left my body.  A sick, painful ache jerked through
my stomach and tears filled my eyes.  Between
sobs I said, "Mister, look at me.  I'm dirty and nasty.
I'm unclean and unworthy of such things.  I'd love
to have all of this, but you see, I just can't afford it.  Undaunted, the man smiled at me and said, "Sir,
your invitation to partake of the 'Special of the Day'
and all that is on the menu here at God's Place of
Grace is free for the asking.  For you see, Someone provided all of this for you."  "Who, I asked, would
want to do such a thing for me?"  He pointed to a
man sitting at the head of a long table.

As I looked towards the man it seemed as though
His very Presence was illuminating the whole room
with a loving glow of warmth such as I had never
known before.  I arose and started walking towards
Him and in a shaky voice I said to Him, "Sir, I'll
wash the dishes or sweep the floors or take out the
trash.  I'll do any thing I can do to repay you for
such loving generosity."

He stood and opened His arms to me and said,
"My dear man, all of this is yours, I bought and
paid for it just for you.  I saw your needs and I
prepared a way for your needs to be taken care
of.  You see, I would really like for you to consider
becoming my son and letting me always take care
of you.  I will clean you up and take away your
stains if you will allow me to do so.  All of this is
a free gift that I am offering to you and all you
have to do is accept it as a free gift.  I have
already paid the price which is far greater that
you would ever be able to pay. 

Astonished, I fell at His feet and said, "Oh yes,
please clean up my life.  Please change me and
give me a new life.  I want to be your son and
dine at your bountiful table always."  Immediately,
I heard Him say, "You are a new creation in Christ,
old things have passed away, behold all things have become new in your life.  Welcome to God's Place
of Grace - My Beloved Son!

I looked down and white robes adorned my squeaky
clean body.  Something strange and wonderful had
just happened to me.  I felt new.  It was as though a
weight had been lifted from me.  I was now seated
at His table.  "The 'Special of the Day' has been
served," the Lord said to me.  "Salvation is yours."

We sat and talked for a great while and I so enjoyed
the time that I spent with Him.  He told me to come
back as often as I liked for more helpings from God's Place of Grace.  He made it clear that He wanted to
spend as much time with me as I was willing to give
to Him.

As it drew near time for me to go back outside into
the "real world," He whispered softly to me, "Don't
be afraid, I will be with you always."  And then He
said something to me that I will never forget.  He
said, "My son, do you see those empty tables
through out the room?"  "Yes, Lord, I see them.
What do they mean?" I replied.  "They are all
reserved tables with someone's name on them but
they have never accepted their invitation to dine
here.  Would you be so kind as to deliver an
invitation to these people?"  "I would be happy
to do so," I said with excitement as I took the
invitations from Him."  "You will have to go into
all the nations to deliver these invitations," He
said as I turned to leave.

I had walked into God's Place of Grace all dirty
and hungry.  Deeply stained by sin.  My righteous-
ness as filthy rags.  But I met my Savior and
Redeemer there and He cleaned me up and gave
me a new beginning.  I am a brand new person -
clothed in His righteousness.  So, I'll keep my
promise to the Lord.  I'll go into all the nations
and deliver those invitations He gave to me. 

Did you know that there is a table at God's Place
of Grace with your name on it and you are invited
to come and dine with the One who loved you so
much that He provided a place where you could
come and receive a new beginning for free? 

Come just as you are - you will be kindly received
there!

 

 

"A certain man gave a great supper and invited many.
He sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were
invited, 'Come, for all things are now ready.'  But they all
with one accord began to make excuses.  So the master of the
house told his servant, 'Go out into the streets and lanes of the
city, and bring in the poor and the maimed and the lame and
the blind.  Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel
them to come in, that my house may be filled."
Luke 14:16-18, 21, 23.

"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if anyone hears My
voice, and opens the door, I will come in to them, and will sup
with them, and them with Me."
Revelation 3:20 

"I have come that you might have life and that you may have
it more abundantly."
John 10:10

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten
Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life."
John 3:16

 

 

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Credits:

The Invitation Story - author unknown

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Art Work by Danny Hahlbohm

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Music: Just As I Am

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