Many years ago in London, General William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, was walking with his son, Bramwell, who was then 12 or 13 years old. He surprised the child by taking him into a bar that was crowded with people. Some of them were drunk. The smell of alcohol and smoke dominated the place.
He said to his son, "These are our people. These are the people that I want you to live for and to bring to Christ."
Years later, his son wrote, "That impression never left me." The words were powerful: “These are our people. I want you to live for them and to bring them to Christ.”
The invitation of scripture is clear: “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Revelation 22:17)
A magazine for clergy had a paragraph about a pastor who was sent to a new church. The big day came, and he arrived for his first Sunday. His eleven-year-old special-needs daughter accompanied him that morning.
The people at the church had not yet personally met him, or his daughter. They could have easily felt awkward or standoffish. But yet, the people in the small country church were kind and accepting. They reached out to his daughter in a special way. Later on, he smiled at her response to it all. She leaned back in his office chair and said, “Daddy, I like it here; this smells like God.”
“Whosoever will, let him come.” There is only one condition. We must take it freely. Don’t think you can buy it. Don’t think you can earn it or deserve it. Just come as you are.