Invitations can be superb. There's something special about the act of opening up a glossy envelope and discovering what exciting journey you've been invited to embark on, who you'll be taking with you and what you'll be celebrating and when.
Jesus makes a number of invitations to those who wish to follow him throughout the Bible and those invitations are extended to us today. They might not come enclosed in eye-catching stationery but Jesus' invitations are more thrilling than anything we'd ever receive through the post. They require us to do more than change our outfits and making the journey isn't as easy as searching for a location on Google maps. Because responding to Jesus' requests is more complicated and opens us up to different kinds of risks, we can hesitate when it comes to accepting and even acknowledging what he calls us to do.
Below are just three of the invitations that Jesus extends to those who wish to know him. As Christians we say yes to each one but it's always worth recapping over them and making sure that we're doing more than simply paying lip service to his instructions.
Come, follow me
"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will send you out to fish for people."
- Matthew 4:19
There are countless excuses that we could use in a bid to justify why we're not following Jesus right now but none are good enough. No decision that gets in the way of accepting him as our saviour will ever be more rewarding and essential than choosing him.
Following Christ is about more than private acts of faith. His words here and in other passages make it clear that we have to obey his instructions in the presence of others. This isn't to show off but to win hearts for him and demonstrate the undeniable change that he has on us. Can you confidently say that your commitment to following Christ will point others to him?
Come and seek rest
"Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
- Matthew 11:28
It's senseless to struggle alone. Jesus welcomes us with our emotional baggage and our burdens and invites us to find rest for the terrible weight that they have on us by drawing close to him.
Have you been carrying the burden of something you've done or that someone's done to you alone? Accept Jesus' invitation to give you rest. Whatever form the troubles or trauma that is haunting you takes, offload them onto him in prayer and allow him to give you the peace that you need.
Come, see and stay
Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you.
- John 15:3-4
When Jesus' disciples come and see where he's staying they see that he is the Son of God and end up staying with him.
If we've come to know Christ then we should do the same – stay with him. There's many different paths that can steer us away from sticking with Jesus but we should always be acting in a way that reaffirms our acceptance of his invitation to come, see and remain. Looking for him in others and making him a priority in our lives is crucial to remaining with him. That means there will be times when we have to trust in his commands before we realise what they will reveal and give up things which prevent us from going where he leads us.