Come Just As You Are

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV)

 

“…come just as you are…”

This past Sunday, my church had the privilege of hearing our worship pastor preach as our senior pastor was away.

Sometimes it seems that worship pastors have an unfair advantage when they preach as they tend to have a keen sense of the music that best reflects the message God has placed on their heart.

So when the sermon on Biblical rest {which for me was a much needed message that proved to be incredibly piercing and convicting on its own} was followed by a time of silent prayer as the song “Come Just As You Are” began in the background with the congregation eventually joining in, my mind and heart were readily positioned to hear from the Lord in a fresh and powerful way.

“…hear the Spirit call…”

But let me back up for a moment.

The summer after 8th grade, I traveled to Baltimore, MD with my church youth choir on a mission tour. We led Back Yard Bible Clubs for children in the mornings, did service-oriented projects in the afternoons, and then presented a gospel-focused musical in various locations in the evenings.

We did these tours every summer, and while they were all meaningful and had a significant influence on my spiritual growth through those years, one night in Baltimore left an even greater lasting impression.

Towards the end of presenting our musical in a men’s homeless shelter in the heart of downtown {which was probably one of the roughest places I had ever been…especially considering the strict instructions we were given regarding how to not interact with the residents}, our pastor gave a brief invitation, and then we followed it with the song “Come Just As You Are.”

As we were singing, we watched as one broken man after the other wept openly, walked towards our pastor, bowed their head in prayer, and recognized their need for a Savior.

They literally came just as they were.

It was one of the most powerful, raw, spirit-filled moments I have ever experienced. By the end of that song, I don’t think there was a dry eye in that place as tears seemed to flow freely from all in attendance.

“…come and see…”

But somewhere in presenting that song of invitation, I allowed myself to {rather unknowingly} believe that the message wasn’t intended for me.

The invitation to Come was for the beggar, the thief, the wounded, the one unfamiliar with the Gospel, the one in desperate need. . .but not for me.

Intellectually, I knew it had to be for me. We are all sinners in need of the saving grace offered freely through faith in Jesus Christ.

But I found myself trapped somewhere between “not bad enough” and “not good enough.” So how could I Come?

“…come receive…”

But as we were singing this familiar invitation on Sunday morning after a message focused on the rest we are to find in Christ, the call to Come was no longer just for someone else.

It was for me.

And not just in an intellectual I-know-we’re-all-sinners-saved-by-grace sort of way. But rather in an intimate I-know-in-the-depth-of-my-soul sort of way.

I, too, can find rest, peace, nourishment, and life by {once again} coming just as I am. With all my fears and failures. With all my hopes and successes.

Yes, the invitation to Come is still for the beggar, the thief and the wounded.

But this invitation is also for me.

And this invitation is also for you.

The invitation to Come is for all.

“…come and live forever…”

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3 thoughts on “Come Just As You Are

  1. Tammy Toney

    I remember this experience like it was yesterday. Thank you for reminding us of God’s work in Baltimore that summer. It was truly a time of surrender unto the Lord. Tammy Toney

  2. Pingback: I Fall So Short | The Inner Harbor

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