Book excerpt from Chapter 1 of No Ordinary Invitation: Called to Live a Life of Eternal Purpose
THE HOST IS CALLING YOUR NAME
Have you ever been a contestant on a game show? I would venture to say that most of us have not been game show contestants, but the majority of us have probably seen them on television. Place your mind-set into a game show scenario, and envision the show taking place in front of you. You know how it is: people in the studio audience sitting on the edges of their seats, just waiting for their names to be called. They wait with sweaty palms and thumping hearts for the chance to win money and prizes and trips to Jamaica or other exotic places. The possessions they can gain, the vacations they can take, and the monetary amounts they can win are things that most of us can only dream about or experience vicariously.
What is it about things that makes people respond so eagerly? When people hear the words of an exuberant host inviting them to come to the front, they excitedly comply because it is expected that they do so. They go forward expecting to have the opportunity to win prizes as the host promised. The competition gets underway, and we watch and wait to see what the outcome will be. The crowd cheers or boos the contestants as the competition ensues. Our minds and emotions follow them through to the end of their game show runs—to happy victories or to heartbreaking defeats. The players will either rejoice in their winning or sadly trudge back to their seats, their opportunities over. The time of the invitation has ended, and they part ways with the host.
What motivates people to respond to invitations in life? Would we excitedly respond to an amazing invitation from an exuberant host, especially if it was to something so much better than the incredible prizes awarded on game shows? Well, we do not have to guess or imagine what we would do if this happened to us, because it already has. God is a host, and He has called us to come forward to receive amazing gifts. Now, understand that there are differences between this invitation and a game show invitation: God’s invitation to us is not for a game or show—it is for real life! There is no competition to engage in. There is no loss, only winning. There is no sales tax to be paid on the earnings because everything He offers is absolutely free! We just need to get up out of our seats in the audience and become active participants in the events taking place in front of us. The rewards will be great, and there will be believers cheering us on. And after we have received our reward from this host, we will never have to part ways. The reward is eternal life with Him forever in heaven.
Since before time began, a call went out to you. Even in the midst of a crowd, God has been seeking your heart as an individual. An invitation was developed with you in mind. From the time that the foundation of the world was laid, Jesus prepared to die for you and for each soul that would ever live. His sacrifice was arranged before you were ever a thought—before a single soul had ever lived. He did this so that you might have eternal life. Have you responded to His invitation?
This call has gone out directly to you. It does not involve living vicariously through someone else; it involves you living directly. The rewards of answering this invitation are beyond anything you could ever imagine. God is offering you a most amazing prize: the gift of eternal life. This gift was given in the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 NKJV). God, the host of heaven, wants you to win in life, and He wants to give you a reward in heaven too. Eternal life is the prize that God will give us if we come forward to claim it. It is free for the taking to whoever wants it. Come and get it! Eternal life is an eternal prize!
… Have you answered His call?
Francee Strain, No Ordinary Invitation: Called to Live a Life of Eternal Purpose, (Bloomington, IN: WestBow Press, 2017), 3-4.