Bread slice with heart shape love out of middle

Love invites. Good lovers initiate. But great lovers face rejection when they invite and initiate.

Big Love Risks Big

He came to his own and his own received him not.

John 1:11 (ESV)

I can barely face the risk of my favorite books being unloved, rejected. If you don’t like this book, would you please give it back? I’ll find you a better one.

One year, I actually did jot that note and slap it on the front of the book. Talk about tacky.

But I fear bigger rejections too. I fear the rejection of my invites, children, writing, ideas, and efforts. I grow weary of going first. Confessing first and forgiving first, clearing awkward air and making peace are risky. They’re all rife with the risk of rejection.

Jesus faced rejection. The Man of Sorrows was despised and rejected by men (Isaiah 53:3). His great love would be misunderstood and spurned.

But for Love Himself, it was beyond risk. In sure and certain omniscience, he knew some would not receive his gift.

He knew some would reject His love. His life. Him.

Sit Down & Eat

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

John 6:35 (ESV)

I nearly despised and rejected his feast.

Sit right down this Christmas Eve.
Go on and take a seat.

But the stockings and gifts and cranberry bread?
And clothes and cards and kids to be fed?

Child, rest a while, take and eat;
Burdened, choose the better.

So down I sink, blind to presents and wrap
The Living Bread, True Word, upon my lap.

Love born in the House of Bread
Fills hunger. I am fed.

Let’s don’t spurn Love’s welcome. Christ calls (Matthew 11:28-29). The Spirit yearns (James 4:5).

But not because are worthy.

Love Bade Me Welcome

Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them.

Luke 12:37 (ESV)

We are unworthy servants (Luke 17:10).

Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,
            Guilty of dust and sin. 
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
    From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
            If I lack’d anything.

‘A guest,’ I answer’d, ‘worthy to be here:’
            Love said, ‘You shall be he.’
‘I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
            I cannot look on Thee.’
Love took my hand and smiling did reply,
            ‘Who made the eyes but I?’

‘Truth, Lord; but I have marr’d them: let my shame
            Go where it doth deserve.’
‘And know you not,’ says Love, ‘Who bore the blame?’
            ‘My dear, then I will serve.’

‘You must sit down,’ says Love, ‘and taste my meat.’
            So I did sit and eat.

       —*George Herbert, 1593-1633

Love has set the table. He has saved you a seat. Christ alone makes you worthy to eat. “All the fitness he requires,” the hymn says, “is to feel your need of him.”

Hungry one and weary, will you sit and be served by the Word? Will you come and taste and see?

He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.

—Luke 1:53 (ESV)

*Read more about the Herbert’s poem “Love (III)” here.

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