A Free and Open Invitation

“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.”

(Is. 55:1-3)

If you want to see people scramble, go to your local market and lift up your voice, saying that in the far corner of the market, things are being given away for free to anyone who wants them.  The response will almost surely be instantaneous and enthusiastic. No one wants to pass up a deal like that and surely no one wants to be left out when others are taking advantage of the benefits all around them.

It is more than mildly ironic, then, when the Scripture calls out as a voice in the marketplace and in the streets, saying ‘Turn to me all you who would be saved’ and the only response is one of sluggish indifference. Why, the Scripture asks, would you pour out your energy, labor, savings, time, and even your very soul on those things which were never designed to bring ultimate satisfaction in the first place? What can you ever do to gain the “sure and steadfast love” known by David and all of those who have fed upon the bread of eternal life? While your bankroll will never be big enough to obtain this, God’s blessing is distributed freely to all who will receive it by faith alone.

It is not as though labor is not necessary or diligence is not required by God. Instead, it is simply a matter of redirecting our delights. In the words of Scripture, “Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.” In the words of Jim Elliot, he is no fool who gives what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot loose. God gives an open and standing invitation of salvation, satisfaction and steadfast love to all who will partake. “Let my beloved come to his garden, and eat its choicest fruits” (Song of Songs 5:16c)

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