Don’t you just love opening an invitation? Lovely, thick stationery with an embossed seal takes a little effort to tear open, but it carries so much excitement inside.
Not only does an invitation reveal something very special, such as an upcoming wedding date or a chance to shower some love on a new mother. But it communicates something to you as the recipient as well.
You are important. You are loved. I chose you for this. I want you to be part of this monumental moment. It just wouldn’t be the same without you. Please say you’ll be there; I want you to experience this with me. Come with me and become part of my history.
In Suzie Eller’s just-released book, Come With Me, she reminds us that every single day, we have a chance to hear those words of invitation. Not only to hear them, but to accept them wholeheartedly.
Suzie journeys alongside the original 12 disciples of Jesus, and plants herself firmly as the 13th disciple. Throughout the book, she leans in to what they may have been thinking and feeling as they heard Jesus’s words, witnessed His miracles, and walked with Him daily, never having the benefit of knowing how His story continues even today. They didn’t have the luxury of hindsight, of being able to look back over thousands of years of scholarly analysis and see the nuances in what He might have been saying.
They were rough fishermen and despised tax collectors. They were Regular Joes. They went about their daily business of mending nets, reeling in the catch, balancing the books, squinting to record figures.
But they got an invitation. One by one, Jesus said Come with Me.
He had no sales pitch. Nothing at all that would indicate they were ablout to live a prosperous, carefree life. In fact, many of Jesus’s words would indicate the exact opposite.
But they each accepted the invitation. Leaving their jobs. Their families. Their positions. Their very identities in society.
Unlike the invitations we get in the mail today, Jesus’s invitation didn’t list a location, a dress code, a meal preference. You know, the things that help us be prepared for the big event. Nothing of the sort.
So why would these individuals say yes, knowing nothing beyond the man who was standing in front of them?
It didn’t make sense. They literally had no reason to open themselves up like that at first. No guarantees of any sort. But when Jesus spoke those words, they knew something more, something bigger than they’d ever dreamed of, was right there in front of them.
I doubt they knew it at the time, but by accepting Jesus’s invitation to Come with Me, they actually acknowledged that they were chosen.
It was an invitation alright. To put faith into practice. To understand forgiveness and mercy. To see with different eyes and hear with new ears. To be fully known and absolutely chosen anyway.
This exact same invitation Jesus gave to the twelve is the one we still have today. For some of us, it sits unopened in a pile of other important things, but we fear opening it because then we will have to make a choice to RSVP. For many of us, we have opened the invitation and accepted, but somehow thought it was about what to wear or what to buy to take along with us, missing the bigger picture entirely. And yet for some of us, we’ve been part of something bigger but the memories have faded.
This book is for all of our hearts. It’s about the journey we take when we decide not to just accept Jesus’s invitation, but to go wherever He leads. Out into deeper waters. Into unknown places. Into the darkness to carry His light.
That sounds all fine and good, but isn’t that a little scary? Can’t we just be happy with RSVPing and showing up for that one thing and just calling it good?
Don’t worry, Suzie understands. That’s why she encourages us in this book to “whisper yes where no wants to take root.” Throughout the pages, she shares ways that Jesus drew her closer by taking small baby steps of faith. Notice that I said Jesus drew her closer, but Suzie makes it clear that she also had to move closer each time she felt that stirring.
My life became hinged on Jesus nearly 14 years ago. The thing I continually learn is that He is always and forever choosing me. No matter what, He wants more of me. More of my heart. More time with me. He is the ultimate pursuer. No matter how inadequate or stagnant or unlovable I might feel, He is always reminding me of His invitation.
No expectations. No prerequisites. No list of improvements that have to be made before I can accept the invitation. He says Come with Me. I just have to whisper yes and allow Him to walk me through the rest.
Friends, Suzie’s Come with Me book officially released today! This is one you can read on your own or with a group, allowing Suzie to be your guide into a new adventure with Jesus.
My copy is already a little ragged, with multiple dog ears and notes scribbled in nearly every margin. It’s one I will revisit again and again along the way. Be sure to check out Suzie’s blog and some of her other beautiful books, such as The Mended Heart and The Unburdened Heart.