When you walk out to the mailbox expecting only bills and coupons, it can be one of the most exciting things to receive a card from a loved one. It’s even better if it’s an invitation: to a wedding, a birthday party, a graduation party or any other celebration. Gathering together for these special moments is something we spend weeks anticipating and will remember much longer. It is also gratifying knowing that we are included
Once a week, I am able to get together with a bunch of my friends. We eat food, play games, crack jokes and just enjoy each other’s company in the midst of our busyness. Since it’s a regular thing, the invitation is open; we all know the location and roughly the time when people will start to show up.
Though I know that I’m invited every week, my doubt can get the better of me. I can be an awkward person so it’s not unlikely that I may be too loud and say something weird, or eat more than my fair share of the snacks or get too competitive with the games we’re playing. I fear that if I fail at being a good group member, the other people in the group may no longer want to invite me even if they are too nice to say so.
Like Pastor Brad explained this weekend, God is continually inviting us to experience his forgiveness. As we have real encounters with Jesus, our souls will be refreshed and renewed by his message. This inviting isn’t only when we say and do the right things or when we feel like we deserve to be included, but it’s in the midst of our sin. In reality, there is nothing we could do to deserve such an invitation but it is due to God’s eternal faithfulness that we have this opportunity.
Like any other invitation, though, we need to respond. Just as it wouldn’t make sense for me to miss a chance to spend time with my friends because of a sense of shame or self-doubt about my awkwardness, it doesn’t make sense for us to miss out on the higher purpose God has for our lives. He wants to renew us by washing away our sins so we can participate in his greatness and play a part in bringing his plans to fruition.
God won’t force us to respond, yet what reason do we have not to join the party? We don’t need to subject ourselves to the fear of missing out because we always have the invitation to join in.
This week, we must do two things. The first is to open the invitation. We won’t understand what we are being invited to unless we open our envelopes and read about the details. We know vaguely what’s on the invite by being told in church or by a friend, but the true depth of information is in God’s Word. If you get an invitation to a party a few months away, you may put it on the fridge so you can check it whenever the details get foggy. Our invitation to forgiveness and renewal is no different. To keep the details fresh in our minds, we must continually return to God’s truth.
The second thing we must do is respond. To leave the invite on our fridge would not do us good. We need to show up. As we allow God to transform us through cleansing and renewal, we have the opportunity to experience our best lives. Not only do we get to attend the party but we are an integral part in making it the best celebration ever. We can invite others and show them what God has to offer: hope through faith in Jesus’s name.