Invitations tend to come and go. How many have said to someone, "You are welcome to our house anytime," only to regret the statement later when the "anytime" appears to be becoming "all the time?" Or perhaps that most often used, "Let me know if there is anything I can ever do for you."

I am sure you, like me, have heard, "That invitation is open ended, take me up on it anytime." All of these were offered in good faith, but presuppose a reasonable limit to the level of acceptance. Remember that beautiful invitation, which for more than a century characterized America, written by Emma Lazarus and found at the Statue of Liberty, "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free," (Emma Lazarus, 1883). While it was the inspiration of millions of people over years, it has pretty well been used up.

We begin to find excuses for not complying with our invitations. A recognized number on our caller ID will provoke an instant need to be busy at something that will not allow us to fulfill that too often request for our help. We may turn another way in the shopping aisle to avoid meeting some one who has become too needy of our services. Those of us who are Americans find ourselves nationally, having rejoiced at the destruction of a wall to keep people from escaping the hardships of Communist countries in Europe, now building a wall to prevent escape into our own country. Invitations, no matter how well meaning, have their limitations.

There is one, however, that has no such limit. It was offered about two thousand years ago and is still very much open to acceptance. This invitation was offered at great cost and has been maintained over the years in spite of considerable attempts at misuse. It was an invitation of such great worth that no other has ever compared to it. It was spoken by one who knew how much it would cost to provide, but was willing to extend it indefinitely. It came from the heart of God Himself and was offered to the frailest and most pitiful of creatures.

He continues to invite us today!
This invitation is as beautiful today as it was when first spoken. Unlike the beautiful invitation of 1883 for the tired, poor and huddled masses, it could never be rescinded by regret, greed or saturation. Jesus' words were not inscribed on a brass plate on some great statue; rather, His words are eternally inscribed on the portal to eternity. "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). It crosses all boundaries, bridges all chasms, and extends to all peoples.

China could not save her frontier by her Great Wall, Communist Europe could not contain freedom by its Berlin Wall and it is unlikely that the U. S. will stop the flow of illegal immigrants by its wall. However, one thing is very clear: nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God. His invitation is open ended and ours for the taking. He continues to invite us today, "Come to Me ... and I will give you rest."