Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 ESV
AT one time or another most of us have gotten a formal invitation. The envelope is usually a special paper, the seal may be an embossed gold circle and the message is often in some type of fancy script. But no matter what the invitation is for it has the letters, RSVP (Répondez S’il Vous Plait), which is French for, “Respond if you please.”. To make it even easier, your friends will even enclose an envelope for you to send it in. All of these details, mean that they really – really want to see you at the event! AN RSVP is exactly what Jesus had in mind when He called out to His listeners that day, “Come!” But the invitation of Jesus is like no other.
When Jesus says, “Come!” He is not just inviting us to a dinner, a wedding, or a party where we are expected to show up and then go home afterwards. When Jesus says “Come!” His call is for us to come and stay. As in the Twenty-Third Psalm, we have an invitation to dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
The RSVP of Jesus also means we have a choice. We do not have to respond. God is not in the kidnapping business. We once lived in the inner city in a fairly tough neighborhood. Often there were young children who used our yard to play in because there was nowhere else for them to go and with their parent’s permission, we took many of them to church. One day an older brother of one of them got in trouble with the police. When young Matt was brought into court, the judge decided that part of his sentence would be to go to attend church for a few months and he chose ours. Now that might sound great, but it never worked out. It was not Matt’s free choice to come to church. Just like Matt, some people only go to church because they feel, sentenced, either for family or cultural reasons to attend. Though their bodies may sit in the pew every week, their hearts are somewhere else. They haven’t filled out the RSVP card and mailed it back in themselves. When Jesus says come, He waits to hear our heart’s response.
Last of all, when Jesus says, “Come!” He adds, “and learn of me.” Coming isn’t just about living at the same house that Jesus lives in, it means learning to live there the same way that Jesus does. We come and learn by walking close enough to Jesus to learn, not about Him, but to learn His heart. Little by little as we listen to His words, watch His actions and obey His commands, He reaches down deep inside our souls, and by the greatest miracle of all He changes us and gives us rest. What a could possibly keep us from opening the envelope, filling out the RSVP and slipping it into the mail? How will you answer Him today?
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