Return to Sender…

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I hate to get mail back, don’t you? You took the time to write a note or send a card or pay a bill and something was not right with the address. It comes back to you a few days after you thought it made it where it was supposed to go. Now the thank-you is delayed, the encouragement ungiven, the payment overdue.

I’ve done some inviting lately, by what is now known as “snail mail,” to our church’s Vacation Bible School. I’m old fashioned and I like to imagine the excitement on a child’s face when they get mail with their name on it. Something they can hold in their own hands. It made me sad to get some of them back because they couldn’t find those kids at the address I had on file.

To get something back, unopened by the person you intended to give it to, hurts a bit. It hurts to know that you wanted to share something with someone and they either couldn’t receive it or didn’t want it.

When I was in the sixth grade, I saved my money and bought an I.D. bracelet for my “boyfriend.” (Those things were popular back then.) He gave it back, unopened, because he said, “I didn’t get you anything.” That hurt. Sometimes we can just close up and tell ourselves it just isn’t worth the effort anymore.

I think of Jesus and all He offers to us and we either keep the door to our hearts closed or we send those blessings back. “Behold I stand at the door and knock, if any man hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20. An invitation to dine with someone is an invitation for friendship or fellowship. The Son of God wants to share Himself with us in a way that nourishes us like no one or nothing else possibly can. And He is not knocking on the wrong door. He says if any man (woman)…

“Behold I stand at the door and knock, if any man hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20.

He is not expecting us to give Him anything in return for all He offers us. He just wants a relationship with us that is based on faith. Faith alone saves. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2: 8-9. By faith, we open the door and He comes in, no strings attached.

To say faith is free doesn’t mean that it came without cost. Jesus died for it. He also rose from the grave for it. He paid the price required to settle our sin debt so we could be redeemed and reconciled with God. He did the work so we could be saved from this fallen world and have eternal life.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2: 8-9.

Knowing that I have the gift of salvation, in itself, can cause me to think that I’m safe so why not live like I want to. Live for me. But there is no peace there. Jesus’ love won’t leave you where you are. His love prompts us to desire what He desires. Love whom He loves. Serve where and whom He knows needs served in His name.

If you have even an inkling that God is speaking to you and you ignore it, it is just like saying “return to sender.” And I confess, I have done it many times. I hate to think of how many invitations I have ignored all the time thinking that what I was doing or what I had planned was more important than what He had planned and prepared for me.

I am so thankful that He doesn’t stop when He gets the invitation back stamped “Return to Sender.” He still loves, He still invites, He still is there for me. He gives me another chance and another. As long as I’m here on this side of heaven, He gives me another chance to accept His invitations and receive His blessings when I am obedient. His blessings, which are innumerable. I don’t understand it, but I am so grateful that He doesn’t close up and stop knocking.

Heavenly Father,

Forgive my unfaithfulness. I’m sorry that I have returned many invitations unopened. I’m sorry that I haven’t always listened. I’m sorry that I’ve closed up at times and dared to think that my efforts weren’t worth it. I’m sorry that I have not put You first. Thank You for Your faithfulness to me. Cause me to remember that anything You invite me to do, You will equip me for, and there will be blessings and peace when I obey. For the glory of Your Name, Amen

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