Recently we were invited to a wedding. It was my cousin’s Big Fat Indian Wedding – in Phuket, Thailand. I tried to lose weight, shopped for outfits for FIVE different wedding events, matched shoes to each outfit (because what would the world think if I repeated shoes, right?) and made sure I was primped, plucked and poised. Once we landed in Phuket, it was three days of non-stop excitement. And, being family, it was also some work.
Surprisingly enough, the wedding reminded me of the gift of salvation and what follows afterward.
Receiving the invitation
When I received the wedding evite, I was probably wearing sambar-splattered PJs. I was far from wedding guest ready. But I RSVP’d with a, “Yes, thank you.” When we receive the invitation to accept God’s gift of salvation, we can be at our sweatiest, messiest, most broken selves. He doesn’t expect us to have our act together. But to receive His gift, we do have to accept with a yes, thank you.
We are all hard wired to work for our salvation, prove our worth, earn our way. But nothing we do gives us a claim to the invitation. Like the Phuket wedding analogy, the bride and groom could have limited the invitees – I didn’t have the right to be on the guest list. And we don’t have the right to be part of God’s family. But He invites us anyways.
Responding to the gift
Our wedding guest persona is distinctly different from our everyday sweat pants and ponytail look. Thankfully, though, God doesn’t put us through the rigors of shopping for overpriced, over-embellished lehengas and dresses. He just gives us robes of righteousness in exchange for our filthy rags.
While we can’t work for our salvation, God’s word tells us to to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.
Once we’ve received the gift, we are called to good works. Not out of obligation or duty. But as a response to an undeserved gift. As a simple act of obedience. Because faith without works is dead.
Our good works are not meant to be cookie-cutter. He has equipped each one of us uniquely. Recently, I was “convicted” that I wasn’t doing enough to help the needy. But God reminded me that He calls me to different “missions” in different seasons. And sometimes my mission field may be my home and my kids.
Going back to the Phuket wedding, there was no way anyone could’ve convinced me to shake my hips for the Sangeeth dances. (I fit into those wedding dances like peanut butter and mango pickle go together.) But I did help with writing some funny speeches and singing during the ceremony. And while it ate into time I could have otherwise spent on the beach, I did those things because I was family. Good works require a sacrifice too. Maybe it’ll be a time commitment. Maybe it’ll be giving up an indulgence so we can donate for a cause. But we do it because He poured out His life for us. We do it because we are His family.