What Was it Like?

You can't believe your good fortune!

The richest man in the world, benefactor to thousands, wealthy beyond your comprehension, has invited you to his next dinner party!

You show up, nervous, invitation in hand, leaving behind a gaggle of wide-eyed friends awaiting reports.

You lift the heavy brass knocker and a maid opens the door.

She looks quizzically at you and you thrust the invitation toward her.

Her face relaxes and she steps back. "Come in. You're invited."

You swallow the wad of cotton in your throat and step over the threshold.

Tantalizing scents swirl around your face and gentle laughter ripples from somewhere just out of sight. Your eyes try to take it all in at once. Yep, there's the winding gold staircase you've heard rumors about. And the hallway that seems to go on forever. How many rooms were reported to be on the first floor?

You quiet your thudding heart and look around for the lord of the manor. Is he as amazing as his reputation says he is? On those rare occasions when he's been sighted, he is always impeccably dressed, unnervingly polite, and kind beyond anyone's comprehension. One story had him kneeling in the rain beside the road in his tuxedo helping a lone woman change a flat. Surely all the stories were exaggerations, but you're dying to find out for yourself.

It is nearly midnight when you tumble into bed.

The phone rings.

"We-e-ell?" your friend asks. "I've been waiting for you to call. What was it like?"

"It was incredible, all right," you answer. "I--"

"Are there really twenty-three bedrooms on the first floor? Is the food as great as they say? What about the music? I hear he imports musicians from all over the world! What about--"

You give a nervous laugh. "I don't know about that. I never heard them."

"What? No musicians? Well, what about the guy himself? Is he really like they say? Tell me about him!"

You swallow. "Well...I never...I mean...I didn't actually see him..."

"Whaddya mean? Weren't you there? I thought you went?"

"Oh, I did. I went."

"Well, tell me what it's like! Is the guy as great as everyone says? Did you talk to him? Did you get a gift like people say he gives out?"

You force a nervous cough. "I-um...well, see...I did go, but I just stayed inside the doorway. I, uh, I never went all the way in. It was too overwhelming and I, well, I saw a lot of good things right where I was."

A dead silence. "You're kidding, right? You get invited to the party of the century and you didn't go all the way in? You just stood in the doorway?"

Shame heats your face. "Yeah...sounds kinda dumb, now. I was just...I dunno, I thought that was good enough, just getting invited, you know? I mean, I was inside his house. I met his maid. I smelled the great food and heard a few strains of the orchestra. I just...well, I didn't know what was expected of me so I stayed where it was comfortable."

Would you have gone all the way in?
Are you sure?

Many people hear the call of God. They respond and accept His gift of salvation, delighted that they are now going to Heaven.

But they stay right there.

All their lives, they stay just inside the safety zone. Never growing in their faith. Never truly experiencing everything God has for them. They view salvation as their Get-Out-Of-Hell Free card to be cashed in upon death. They stick it in their back pockets and go on about their lives, completely missing the whole meaning of a relationship with God.

That choice is as ridiculous as spending the whole evening on the threshold of a wonderful event. The Lord of the Manor is as wonderful as the reports say, and he wants to know you. His gifts and presence are highly desirable and only a fool would not take every opportunity to spend as much time at the mansion as possible.

You may have an invitation, but it won't do you much good unless you trade it for all the benefits it represents.

Go ahead.
Walk on in and close the door behind you.
You won't want to leave anytime soon, anyway.

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