My mother-in-law, Barb, is happiest when her tiny cottage and favorite people burst at the seams on Thanksgiving Day.
So she begins to plan and shop months in advance. Then, she picks up the phone and calls each of us one by one.
“What can I bring?” I ask.
“Yourself,” Barb answers, letting me know I am enough for her.
I call back a few days later, feeling a little sheepish, “Can my friend, ‘So and So’ come, too?”
“Of course,” she says without hesitation, “Everyone is invited.”
When the glorious day comes, Barb throws open the door, excited to welcome us all to her table.
But one year, I rounded the corner and came face to face with what ‘everyone is invited’ really meant to her.
“Hi Chuck,” I said, shocked to see my father-in-law, Barb’s ex-husband, sitting among the guests. By his look, I knew he and I had reached the same conclusion. He had done nothing to deserve her gracious invitation.
But then the Lord gently reminded me, neither had I.
Likewise, our merciful Savior, Jesus, throws His arms wide with an open invitation and a promise: “All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me, I will never drive away” (John 6:37, NIV).
So let our plates and hearts be filled with wonder and gratitude for the call we have received. And let us extend God’s gracious invitation to every hungry heart.