People stand in circles. Older ones there, youngest ones across the room. We’ve all been invited, though I’m not sure how I fit in. She breaks from a group hug and, beaming, saunters over to me. “I’m so glad you could come” her voice floats over me like a warm embrace. “Thank you for inviting me” I smile back. “You were invited because of who your parents are.” She continues to grin warmly. My smile turns to confusion. What did she mean by that? We hug, and she returns to friends.
I couldn’t decide what she was talking about. I was inclined to feel offended. “What? You didn’t want me here, but did this as a favour? Was I not good enough to be invited?” But, then I remember the many times I’ve made wrong assumptions about people and was so sorry I had. The piano tuner, the person jumping to my defence who wasn’t defending me at all … lots of times. I didn’t want this to be another one. So, I mulled and mulled. What other meaning could there be? Why am I offended about it?
My pride had been bruised – whether it was intentional or not was beside the point. I believed I had been invited because I was special. If I had not been invited, I suspect I would have been hurt about it. I thought I deserved to be invited. For her to imply that I deserved nothing was just … downright unfair and offensive!
Then something hit me. That’s kind of like heaven. I can imagine people milling, enjoying a lavish celebration, and God walking up to me saying, “Welcome here! I’m so glad you came. Please don’t forget that you’re not here because of your good works, your reputation or your name. You’re here because of who my son is.”
Ouch. I feel a little offended that God wouldn’t invite me for any reason other than who his son is. I want to be there because I’m special or needed or qualified. Interesting monsters that lurk in us…
I wish I could tell you that I’ve had a great epiphany that has instantly changed my life. I haven’t. But, the Lord in his gracious mercy continues to open my eyes to His truth – that it is through Jesus alone that I can find meaning, identity, purpose, and forgiveness. (and, the more I grasp it, the more I can extend it to others)
I’ll never parent well enough, give generously enough, love my enemies enough, learn enough, read the Bible enough, pray enough, volunteer at church enough, help others enough … do ANYTHING enough to deserve getting into heaven.
It’s so hard to understand – I really want to get this. I believe, by God’s grace, this truth is beginning to sink deep into my soul. And I’m thankful. I praise Him for opening my eyes (however slowly) to the truth of His Grace. His continued work in me is evidence that I am, indeed chosen …. because of who Christ is, and only because of His blood. I'm sure remembering that has got to be key to attaining humility, contentment, peace.
Thank you Jesus, that you are enough. Thank you for the invitation - to be alive, to come to you, to serve you. I’m glad to be here. Lord, please give me a humble, thankful heart that it may glorify you. Amen.