The Power of an Invitation
I read a true story recently that communicated a powerful message to me, and I wanted to share it with you today with some additional comments.

A Christian by the name of Glenn L. McCullough was in the dairy business near Tupelo, Mississippi. Mr. A.D. Prince was a salesman from Memphis who regularly called on him for needed supplies. One day, Mr. Prince arrived at brother McCullough's farm rather late in the afternoon. He was told he would have to come back the next day because there was a gospel meeting at the Gloster Street church of Christ that night and he was getting ready to attend. Mr. Prince said that was fine and agreed to come back the next day.

As Mr. Prince was leaving, brother McCullough thought to himself: "I should ask him to attend our gospel meeting." He invited the salesman to stay for supper and attend the gospel meeting. Mr. Prince agreed and not only attended that night, but attended three nights of the gospel meeting conducted by Jack Meyer. Even though he learned what to do to become a Christian, he did not obey the gospel during his visits.

A few months later, Mr. Prince was given a new job and did not come back to Tupelo to call on brother McCullough. Decades passed by and one day brother McCullough saw a newspaper story about A.D. Prince III, who was a student at a Christian college. He made a few phone calls and found out that Mr. Prince, a short time after attending the meeting with him, received an invitation to go to a tent meeting in Memphis. He attended that meeting also and obeyed the gospel the first night. Later, he became an elder in the church. The student honored at the Christian college was his grandson.

Years later, both brother McCullough and brother Prince learned they had terminal diseases and were given just a few months to live. As time drew near for both men, brother Prince had his sister drive him from his home in Arkansas to brother McCullough's home in Mississippi to pay one final visit and say, "I want to thank you for inviting me to the gospel meeting that night. If it had not been for your invitation, I probably would never have heard the gospel and become a Christian. It was your invitation that made it possible for me, my family, and my grandchildren to become Christians. I will be forever grateful. Thank you."

What a wonderful story! But friends, please consider what would have happened to the Prince family if brother McCullough had said: "My conscience says I ought to invite this salesman to the gospel meeting, but I know it won't do any good"? What if he had convinced himself: "He won't come to the meeting anyway, so why even bother to invite him?" Thankfully, this follower of Christ did the right thing. He extended an invitation and allowed Mr. Prince to make his own decision. But, what about you and I? Are we inviting people to come and hear the gospel proclaimed? Or, are we assuming that they aren't interested and not even asking? Are we being hospitable to our friends and those we have influence with and encouraging them to study God's word with us? Or, have we accepted the devil's lie that no one is interested in the gospel anymore?

Jesus, by means of a parable, declared the following command to His disciples in Matthew 22:9 - "Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding." The thrust of our Lord's teaching here is simple: He wants His followers to go everywhere sharing the gospel message, and entreat anyone and everyone to obey it and be added to His kingdom, the church (cf. Mark 16:15,16). Only those who are members of Jesus' church will be allowed to enter heavenly bliss (i.e., "the wedding"; cf. Rev. 21:9; Eph. 5:24ff). If you are a Christian, are you inviting others to come to the Lord? II Corinthians 6:1 states that children of God are to be "workers together with Him." Are you working with God by inviting others to come to Jesus and encouraging them to walk the paths of righteousness, or are you working against His kingdom by remaining silent? The wise will heed Jesus' words - "He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad" (Matt. 12:30).