You live in a city of three million people. One day, in the mail, you receive an invitation to go to a certain address on a certain date to attend a banquet. The banquet is being presented by the richest, most influential, most powerful, most important person in your city. You’ve never met the person nor had anything to do with him but, for a reason you can’t quite explain, you RSVP that you’ll attend. When the date comes around a limo pulls up in front of your residence. The driver escorts you to the vehicle and closes the door. While driving down the street you notice something strange. The sidewalk is littered with what looks like discarded invitations. Could it be that lots of people were invited and some turned it down? At any rate, as you arrive at the place of the mystery invitation you notice that other limos, hundreds of them, are bringing other people and dropping them off as well. While many had obviously rejected the invitation, you’re certainly far from being the only one who has accepted the offer.
You go up the stairs of the mansion and walk into a grand entryway. Your coat is taken by the doorman and you, as well as others who have just arrived, are ushered into a huge banquet room. Drinks are being served so, while Waiters are bringing stacks and stacks of food to the tables, you decide to relax and mingle with the crowd.
Soon someone asks, “So what brings you here?” As you begin to describe the curious invitation you overhear other people describing the same scenario.
The question, “So what brings you here,” is relevant since there is no obvious common denominator to the crowd that is gathering. Some are old. Some are young. Some are obviously wealthy professionals while many, maybe most now that you look around, seem destitute, homeless and perhaps mentally ill. The large number who still seem to be wearing their prison garb is a bit unsettling. Some of those walking in are men, some women. Some have come alone while others have brought their spouse and children. The only thing that everyone seems to have in common is that the owner of mansion is the one who issued the invitation and then went out got them.
Ok, enough of that. Here’s the point. That is what it’s like to become part of the family of God. Evangelicals, I think, put way too much emphasis on stuff like, “I accepted the Lord,” or “I came to Christ when . . .” or, “I got saved after . . .” These type of comments, while accurate to a point, make it sound as though we Christians had something to do with our salvation. In point of fact, when we come together to worship our Lord and Saviour Jesus the Christ, the common denominator, the only common denominator, is that God gave you and others in your situation an invitation.
He called you.
He got your attention.
He drew you to Jesus.
It was all God, from first to last.
For no reason other than His decision to do so, Creator God called you and relatively few other people, out of the general population, to become part of His family of believers. On the other hand, He says for us to tell others, even those that have thrown their invitations away, that the invitation remains open until our dying breath, or until the return of Jesus, whichever comes first.
It’s as if the whole population of the world has been filing through some gate and God, at His discretion has been plucking people from here and there to go one direction while the majority continue filing down the path they’ve been on since birth.
This causes some people to ask, “How could a loving God condemn billions of people to hell?” That may be a good question but a better question is this. “Why would God take billions of people who deserve to be in hell and save them, at His own expense, for eternal salvation in heaven?” The rebellious cannot complain of hell because they are in fact guilty of rebellion. The saved cannot boast because they have done nothing to deserve salvation.
This choosing, this plucking, this “calling out” has nothing to do with who you are or what you’ve done. It has nothing to do with your gender or race or wealth or disposition.
The reasoning for the invitation may or may not become known at some date in the future but for now the only reason you have become part of the family of God has been His grace, His mercy, His calling, His choosing.
So if you’re ever sitting in Church and get asked by someone, “So what brings you here?” Remember, the answer is God - only God. Whether or not you’re saved at that point is a non issue because your being there is no accident.
It’s His house, His banquet, His invitation.