There’s a particular store in my favorite town with a small deli where I like to sit and people watch. The customers are so varied in lifestyle, culture, and appearance that I can be kept in wonder for hours. You see, this little town is occupied by the very wealthy and the very poor and everyone in between, but if any of them want groceries, there is a good chance they will shop here.
Enter the young couple living in a cabin with no running water who have come to buy some meat and bread, followed by the Lodge owner in fine clothes whose nightly fees are over $1000 per night for his guests. There is the man in dreadlocks and tattered clothes, followed by the woman in her business suit and high heels. The Orthodox Russian woman walks in with her beautiful daughters– all with their hair pulled back and covered with a beautiful scarf and wearing dresses that almost touch the floor. The fishermen and their captains in Extra Tuffs are making their grocery run and stocking their boats for the season ahead. There are the vegetarians shopping beside the meat eaters. The summer campers buying marshmallows and graham crackers next to the millionaire purchasing her coffee and syrups. Everyone together, everyone a neighbor. This is a picture of what the Kingdom of God looks like.
Isaiah 55:1-2 (New International Version)
1 “Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
Unlike my favorite people watching store, what God offers is free. If you have no money, you can still come and drink and be filled. The invitation is to all who are thirsty, all who are hungry. It’s free, it’s grace, and it’s intended for you. No one can block the door, and in the words of Kenny Chesney “No shoes, no shirt, no problem!”
“It’s time to stand and walk on up, sit at the table drink the cup. You have been invited. You will be received. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been, the Father loved you even then. You have been invited….come on in!” *
* From “Come on In” by Dallas Holm and Kim Sherman (c) 1993 Dimension Music/Dallas Holm Music and Pflipside Music/SESAC