June 2, 2016 • Life for Leaders
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.
I know people who live an inviting life. I’m not using the word “inviting” in the ordinary sense here. If we say something is inviting, we mean it’s attractive or desirable. The lives of the people I’m thinking of are generally inviting in this way. But I’m using “inviting” in a more active sense. The people I have in mind are always inviting people into their lives: Come have dinner with us! Join us at the concert! Sit for a while and let me know what’s going on in your life!
Often, especially the workplace, our invitations come more through actions than words. We seek to live in such a way among our colleagues that they are drawn to Christ through our example.
Revelation 22:17 call us into what I’m referring to as an inviting life. This verse begins with “The Spirit and the bride” saying “Come!” The Holy Spirit and the church – the bride of Christ – are inviting someone (or many “someones”) to come. At first, we might think this invitation is directed to Christ, whom, in verse 12, said, “Look, I am coming soon!” But a closer study of verse 17 suggests that the invitation from the Spirit and the bride (church) is offered, not to the Lord, but rather to those who don’t yet know him. The Spirit and the church are extending an invitation to those who are “thirsty,” who need “the water of life” (2:17).
I’m struck by the fact that the bride, which is to say, the church, is included as a partner with the Holy Spirit in inviting people to drink of the water of life. Perhaps even more surprising is the next sentence of verse 17: “And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’” This suggests that the one who hears the invitation to drink of the water of life and those who accept this invitation becomes part of the inviting church. It also makes it clear that all of us who are members of “the bride” of Christ are to live an inviting life.
Sometimes we invite in obvious ways: Come to church with me! Come join my women’s group! Come with us as we build a Habitat for Humanity House! Often, especially the workplace, our invitations come more through actions than words. We seek to live in such a way among our colleagues that they are drawn to Christ through our example.
Remember, we’re not on our own in this endeavor. We are part of the “bride,” the community of Christ’s people. Moreover, the Holy Spirit, who dwells in us, helps us to live an “inviting life.”
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Do you know people who live an “inviting life”? Are you one of those people?
In what ways do you invite people to experience God’s grace? How do you do this through words? How do you do this through actions?
Is it possible to live an “inviting life” without being offensive? If so, how?
Gracious God, how amazing to be included among those who invite others to come and drink the water of life. Help us, Lord, to live “inviting lives.” May we do so in ways that are respectful, appropriate, wise, and winsome. May our lives demonstrate your grace in such a way that people are drawn to you. Amen.
Explore online Bible commentary for The Meaning of Revelation for Our Work at the Theology of Work Project.
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.
Hi Mark, may I suggest that you create a book of this series on Revelation? I took the new BSF course on Rev. this year and have loved the added depth of thinking in your devotions. I met you at the Faith Angle Forum, then at Laity Lodge and now you are with Mark Labberton! Keep writing! Your devotionals are much appreciated.
Thanks, Nancy, for this comment and for your encouragement. I had not thought about a book, but that’s an intriguing idea! How good to be in touch with you again. Blessings to you!