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The Invitation Jon Hamilton
The Harvard admissions board was dumbfounded. But recognizing the delicate nature of the situation, they quickly agreed to the proposal. In exchange for a record-breaking endowment to the University, Harvard’s largest and most important patron requested that a social experiment be performed.
Four young men, selected at random by the donor, were to be admitted to Harvard on a full scholarship. These students were average at best. None had done anything to deserve the honor. Nevertheless, one morning they all opened the mailbox to find a letter offering a future they never even dreamed possible.
The first young man excitedly told everyone of his great opportunity. Day after day he met with his friends from his small town, and they talked of the future. He greatly enjoyed these times with his friends, and spent long hours with them. Everyone in town knew him as "that kid who’s gonna go to Harvard". He loved the attention. Unfortunately, he was so busy spending time with his friends discussing his great opportunity, that he neglected to find out when he should arrive at classes. Months passed, then years, and he had yet to respond or even call the school. Occasionally someone would ask and he would think "I really need to call Harvard today" but just as he reached for the phone it would abruptly ring with another friend’s invitation. Gradually the memory of his invitation to attend Harvard began to fade. He eventually doubted the letter was even genuine.
Three other young men managed to make it to classes at Harvard.
One felt he should become a doctor. He was very drawn to medicine, but his handsome good looks and busy social agenda made it difficult to study all the boring prerequisites. One day he met a beautiful young woman, and was captivated by her attentions. After a few months of spending every available moment with her, they were married. A baby quickly followed, and the student was forced to leave Harvard and get a job. He found employment as a hospital orderly. Over the years he sometimes thought of his desire to become a doctor, but he consoled himself that being an orderly was close to being a doctor anyway.
Another of our young men was determined to use the opportunity at Harvard to become an entrepreneur. He threw himself into business studies. However, after a few months he decided he was bored of study. He reasoned that if his professors really knew so much, they would be in business for themselves, not teaching. Besides, he had learned enough to begin putting his education to work. He opened a hot dog stand on the street corner just down from the school. Making money felt good! Over time his classmates graduated. One bought the hot dog factory where our entrepreneur purchased supplies. Others had careers that seemed to appear regularly in the newspapers on the corner stand. Soon owning his own hot dog stand no longer seemed fulfilling. Gradually our young entrepreneur began to grow a deep shade of bitter. He insisted that Harvard had failed him. He analyzed and documented the school’s shortcomings, and as a former student he proclaimed himself to be quite an expert on Harvard. To anyone who would listen between bites he shared his bitterness.
The last young man spent long hours in class studying architecture. Engineering and math did not come easily to him, so every evening was spent racking his brain preparing for examinations. Often his professors were difficult and unfair. They occasionally ridiculed his designs. He was tempted to quit, but the dream of building skyscrapers caused him to press on. Nights were lonely. He longed for the social life his peers enjoyed, but reasoned that dating and marriage would have to wait until the proper time.
Eventually our young architect graduated. During his lifetime, he went on to build the most beautiful buildings the world had ever seen.
Which one of these students received an invitation to a bright future courtesy of Harvard?
The answer, of course, is all of them. All received the same precious opportunity. Only one of them seized it.
Such is the calling of God.
A calling from God is an invitation to be.
The call of God is an invitation to believe Him and to become the man or woman of God He envisions.
But we have to respond to the call!
Today there is a call going out to a generation of Christian young people. They have been to the "mailbox"…and found an invitation. Sometime in their young life, they have had an encounter with God. It might have happened at a conference, a retreat, or just in a Sunday morning service, but somewhere God deposited a call into their lives. If they search their hearts, they will recall it.
To respond to the call is to submit to preparation. If he calls you as a teacher, he may have you study at the feet of other teachers for many years. Some of these will be gifted teachers, many may not be. You will learn from both.
If he calls you as a musician, you can expect you will have to "train your hands for battle". You will spend many hours practicing, rehearsing, and doing drills and scales. If you just learn a few songs and decide you are ready, you will not be.
If he calls you to lead, He may cause you to spend difficult years serving the house of Saul. This price to become a king like David is paid by faithfully and willingly serving an unappreciative king like Saul.
Years ago, Dr. Bill Bright began his famous tract with the words "God has a wonderful plan for your life." I agree with him. But you may also rest assured Satan too has a "wonderful" plan. It is his plan to limit the degree to which you can fulfil your call. He wants to encumber you with as much as possible so that you will be little threat to his kingdom. His plan usually looks pretty good at the moment, and offers the most short-term fulfillment. Satan’s plan may even be something "good" for you. But the good is usually the enemy of the best.
Never has a generation of young people had a greater call from God. What he will do through those that are willing will cause the world to marvel. God has saved his best wine for these latter days. This is why Satan is working overtime to murder, to destroy, and to distract this generation. He fears them. He fears you.
He has given you the greatest invitation of all. Seize the day.