Respond to the Invitation
I remember preparing for our wedding. Specifically, I remember sending out physical invitations. At that time, our invitations were printed on fancy paper with fancy writing and we sent out each individual invitation to people through the mail. The invitation told them we were getting married, that they had been invited to attend, and when and where the wedding would be taking place. And at the bottom was a note asking them to please respond back if they would be attending or not. RSVP (répondez s'il vous plait). We still ended up having to phone a few of them.
In life, we respond to many different things. It may look a bit different than our wedding invitations, but when someone plans something and they invite you to participate they may want or even need you to respond. If you use a certain service, you may be asked to respond to a survey and share your opinion of that service. And in likely the most practical sense, when someone asks you a question, they expect you to respond. And when you do respond, one way or the other, people expect you to follow through.
Now, each one of us has received an even greater call, an invitation which we are asked to respond to. As I connect with our EMMC churches, leaders and missionaries I am often reminded of the importance of responding to the call of Christ and have been witness to the incredible work Jesus does in and through us when we accept that invitation.
I would suggest that the call of Christ comes in several different forms and I would like to highlight a few.
First, each one of us is called by Jesus to receive the gift of life through his death and resurrection. John 3:16 (NIV) says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Such a familiar phrase and yet, such a profound truth. We are reminded of this truth at Easter as we remember that Jesus went to the cross for our sin and rose from the tomb that we might have life in Him. What is our response to that invitation?
Second, Jesus calls us to submit to him as Lord and follow him as his disciples. Mark 1:16-18 (NIV), “As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will send you out to fish for people." At once they left their nets and followed him.” When Jesus called his first disciples, they followed at once. Yet they didn’t completely realize what it was that Jesus was calling them to. In time they would learn that the call of Christ includes a call to lay aside our own desires, to submit ourselves to Jesus’ will for our lives as our Lord, and to follow him. To follow Jesus as his disciple is not always easy, but he has promised to be faithful to equip us with everything that we need. So, what is our response to that invitation?
And lastly, Jesus calls his body, the church, to equip his disciples to raise up more disciples to proclaim the praises of the Lord and the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV) Jesus says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age." As Jesus charged his first disciples, we have also been charged with making more disciples. We are able to work together on this as the church as we seek to equip the saints for the work God has prepared for us. What is our response to that invitation?
Jesus has given us an invitation: to believe in him that we might be saved, to submit ourselves to Jesus as Lord and become his disciples, and to equip his body, the church, to make more disciples and proclaim the Good News to the world.
Jesus has given us an invitation: to believe in him that we might be saved, to submit ourselves to Jesus as Lord and become his disciples, and to equip his body, the church, to make more disciples and proclaim the Good News to the world. As individuals and as churches, what is our response?
This article was originally published in The Recorder, Vol 59 no. 2