All of us enjoy receiving invitationsto a meal, a wedding, or a concert. Usually, when the invitation is printed on a little card, there are cryptic letters written at the bottom: RSVP. We know what those letters mean. They are an abbreviation of a French request to reply to the invitation. Unfortunately, not everyone knows that.
A couple found political asylum in this country during the Second World War. They came from Eastern or Central Europe, and they were not well versed in American culture. One day they received an invitation to a wedding, and at the bottom of the invitation were those cryptic letters: RSVP. In his thick, Eastern European accent, the husband said, "Vife, vat does it mean: RSVP? " So they thought for a while, until inspiration dawned, and the husband said, "Vife, I know vat it means: Remember Send Vedding Presents."
They made a mistake by imaging that the message was a demand when, in reality, it was an invitation. Unfortunately, there are many people who make the same mistake about Jesus Christ and the gospel. They think it is a demand when in reality it is an offera free invitation.
In Matthew 11:2530, Jesus speaks what are among the most tender and appealing words he ever uttered: Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. These words have been immortalized in different ways. Some of us know them from Handel's Messiah, in that famous aria in which he combines these words with others from the prophet Isaiah: "He shall feed his flock like a shepherd. Come unto him." Members of the Anglican Communion may know that Thomas Cranmer, architect of the Anglican Prayer Book, incorporated these words into the Anglican Communion service.
For myself, I can ...
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John R. W. Stott (1921 – 2011) is known worldwide as a preacher, evangelist, author, and theologian. For 66 years he served All Souls Church, Langham Place, in London, England, where he pioneered effective urban evangelistic and pastoral ministry. During these years he authored more than 50 books, and served as one of the original Contributing Editors for Christianity Today. Stott had a global vision and built strong relationships with church leaders outside the West in the Majority World. A hallmark of Stott's ministry was his vision for expository biblical preaching that addresses the hearts and minds of contemporary men and women. In 1969 he founded a trust that eventually became Langham Partnership International (www.langham.org), a ministry that continues his vision of partnership with the Majority World Church. Stott was honored by Time magazine in 2005 as one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World."