We’ve all had them. Those unwelcome invitations to go and test drive a car, to view a time share option, or to visit a sale room where there is some gift incentive to tempt us to part with money or time that we don’t really have. We usually bin those invitations or at least put them on one side to peruse at another time.
There are other invitations, to parties or weddings that we don’t bin. They usually have an RSVP address on them, and if we are pleased to receive it, when we reply, we say ‘Thank you for the invite, I will be happy to accept’ and we will express our intention to be there.
Today I was looking at some of the many invitations that we have from the Lord, and I believe that He is urging us not to put aside His invitations but to respond to them, to RSVP with our gratitude and thanks, because His invitations are genuine, and are they are usually inviting us to freely enjoy Him and His blessings in some way.
In Isaiah 55:1 we have one of those amazing invitations, so different to the worldly invitations coming through our letter box or email. It is for everyone who is thirsty, and even more amazing it’s for those who have no money. If you fit into that group, you are invited to come and get grain, wine and milk. Symbolic things that nourish and sustain, and also, I suspect, give much joy.
Sometimes we can read these wonderful words and think to ourselves ‘that’s great’ and almost feel that because we have read them, and like what we have read, that is enough, that we will receive what is offered by osmosis. This may in part be true because God is so gracious, and He knows our inmost thoughts. I believe however, that our friendship with God will be more enriched if we intentionally respond, and make the choice to ‘come to Him’ and receive.
Responding starts with our RSVP which, I would suggest, goes something like, “Thank You God for your wonderful invitation….I am coming!”. In other word we express our pleasure at getting the invitation, our confidence that it is genuine, and our intention to ‘come’ to Him, whatever that looks like for us.
Then we need to learn how to ‘drink’ or ‘receive’ what God is offering us, and in the book of Esther we have an interesting story about a king who was giving away free drinks at his banquet. It gives us a picture, I believe, of what it is like in Gods’ banqueting house. At King Xerxes banquet, ‘wine was served in goblets of gold, each one different, and the royal wine was abundant…. By the Kings command each guest was allowed to drink in his own way……the stewards were to serve each man as he wished. Esther 1:7,8.
For me this is a beautiful picture of our heavenly Kings’ generosity, and also of the freedom He gives us to accept His invitation, and to come and drink in our own way. Some of us come to Him and find a ‘refreshing drink’ as we worship, others through communion, or reading His word. Some come and enjoy the banquet through praying in tongues and others through sitting quietly, soaking in His presence with some beautiful music, sitting by a beautiful part of creation or other ways unique to you.
The Lord will bless us as we come to feast and drink, in our own way. The important thing is that we say ‘Thank you, I’m coming’ to His invitation, and that we then make that time and space to be with Him in our own preferred way, (or on occasions to try a new way). Then the Lord can bless and refresh us and pour His ‘living water’ into our lives and assuage our thirst.