Thursday, July 21, 2011

Left behind.

Before I took up my studies at Bible college, for many years I worked at an advertising and marketing company. In order to help pay the bills I regularly freelance at my old company and so get to see all my old colleagues and basically do what I was doing before.

Today is the day of their summer party – which involves a light-hearted sports afternoon and then drinks and a BBQ on a boat on the Thames. I was asked if I would 'hold the fort' in case of any artwork related emergencies. I have to say it's surprisingly lonely – knowing that everyone else is out having fun and I am not. I had held out a hope that I would be invited to the evening festivities, but alas, it has become apparent that this is strictly for those in the company. But why am I sharing all this with you?

As I sat in front of my computer, feeling pretty lethargic and unmotivated, I considered that merely being associated with a people or a company, still doesn't actually make you a part of the company - no matter how closely you may have worked with them. And in many ways, that is the same with heaven. A person may go to church, have tons of Christian friends and even do many of the same things that Christians do, but unless they are trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ for their salvation and are seeking to follow Him, one day, there will be a great eternal party to which they are invited. Regret, good works or any other plea or offer will not be enough, for when the time comes, if you are not found in the Lord, then that is how you shall remain – outcast, lonely and regretful. Depressing? No, there's hope.

Unlike the parallel with my old company, the good news is that it doesn't have to be that way. The Lord is holding open his arms and is even now inviting you to join him. Because of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, God can forgive all the mess-ups you've ever made and welcomes you to a restored relationship with himself. This offer is open to all: that we should turn from our sin, to love and follow Jesus and so enjoy forgiveness, reconciliation and eternal life in him. But like all good offers, this offer has an expiry date. The offer is closed whenever you might die or whenever Jesus returns – whichever comes first. So think about it. Do you want to be welcomed to the greatest party in history as a child of God, or do you want to be turned away into everlasting darkness, with God saying, 'Depart from me, I never knew you'? Right now, I know where I would rather be.

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