The second week of December, I flew to South Africa and experienced an adventure-packed week with Adah in Cape Town. This was the last week of her semester abroad and a week of “firsts” for me. It was my first time to South Africa, my first time to Penguins were seen in South Africa on the southwestern coast,
an hour away from Cape Town. see penguins, my first time to use a GPS (yes, I was given a free car to drive) and my first time to Robben Island, Adah (and photographer Marti), next to the
prison cell once occupied by Nelson Mandela where Nelson Mandela had been incarcerated.
However, one of my “firsts” was an unexpected treat. A close family friend had given me the sky miles for this trip and the only way to get there was to take several legs of the journey on first class (too bad). We were given jersey pajamas which said, “First” on them, soft slippers and 10 items in our own ditty bag to help us be comfortable. The food was delicious and I ate everything! Since my seat made into a bed, I got to sleep for 5 hours on the plane.
On the return trip as I was exiting the plane in London, the flight attendant handed me a voucher for a “by invitation only” lounge. I had 6 hours before the next flight and I was curious to know what those lounges were like. I rode escalators up and down, asked for assistance 5 times and finally arrived at the lounge. The receptionist took my voucher, smiled, and welcomed me in!
Everything was free. The first thing I did was take a shower. Then I had breakfast. There were so many choices—just plain cereal or a full-on hot breakfast with eggs and bacon. The smell of coffee was inviting. After breakfast, I went to the computer room and emailed each member of my family. What a relaxing place to be. I loved imagining what important conversations were taking place as I drank both hot chocolate and coffee. Perhaps very significant decisions were being made just inches away from me!
After being home for a few days and thinking about my trip, the phrase “By Invitation Only” danced around in my head. I felt like shouting from the rooftops, do you know that entering heaven is “by invitation only”? Do you ever think about it?
In John 3:16, God extends His invitation to everyone. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him, should not perish but have eternal life.” Whosoever includes every one. But does it just happen automatically? Can you live just any way and expect a Holy God to let you into His heaven? Absolutely not! You are invited to believe (entrust yourself wholly, rely upon, place your faith in) in His only begotten Son and that includes believing He died to pay for your sins. In Him is eternal life and that life begins the moment you accept His invitation.
Heaven will be so much more that a comfortable airport lounge. There is no comparison. Jesus’ offer to experience all that He has is free. He is our voucher.