My wife and I received a pleasant surprise when we returned to our ship's cabin on a recent cruise. It had been a long hot day on the beach and we were ready to return and rest and get ready for dinner that evening. When we arrived to our room, we both noticed that there was a small white envelope propped up on our dresser addressed to us. My wife and I looked at each other rather puzzled wondering why there was an envelope on our dresser and how did it get there? Of course, curiosity got the best of us and we had to open the envelope. Inside, there was a simple invitation for us to attend dinner the next day with the Captain of the ship and actually have the opportunity to sit at The Captains Table. The invitation went on to say that, after our dinner, we could actually visit the Captain's Bridge and see how the ship is navigated and view what goes on behind the scenes—sights normally off-limits to the average tourist. We were totally shocked. We had no idea why we received the invitation and had no idea what we did to deserve it, if anything. The invitation told us the date, time, and dress code. We were quite excited but didn't know what to expect.
On the day of the Captain's dinner, my wife and I were dressed as nicely as possible in our formal wear. We followed the instructions in the invitation to meet in a specific place in the dining room where we would be met by our concierge. Upon arrival, our concierge led us to our particular table where we met other guests and nervously awaited the appearance of the Captain. The dining room was immaculate and sparkling clean. Our dinner table was adorned with a pure white linen tablecloth set with the finest china and silverware along with the most gorgeous centerpiece. It was obvious to my wife and me, along with the other guests, that no expense was spared to make the dinner as impressive as possible. Soon afterwards, we were joined by the Captain who was dressed impeccably in his white Captain's Dress uniform. The dinner was great and we had a memory that will not soon be forgotten.
After our dinner, we were asked to meet in a certain part of the ship for our tour of the ship's bridge and control areas. We followed what seemed to be a maze through the innermost parts of the ship and finally arrived at the entrance to the bridge. We were met by armed security guards who searched us thoroughly and advised us of the rules and protocol. We weren't allowed to touch any equipment; only observe and ask questions. Upon entering the bridge, we met the Captain (again) who was closely accompanied by other security agents. While it was very interesting and the Captain was very polite and patient with our questions, it was apparent to us that we had to keep our distance and not make any appearance of getting too close to the captain or certainly not make any threatening gestures. Our true access to the Captain was very limited and controlled.
I was reminded today of what a special privilege we have as Christians—–the privilege of a personal relationship with Christ. We don't need a special invitation from our heavenly Father to approach him. In fact, He is already waiting with open arms. We don't need to go to special entrances or follow a maze of requirements to "qualify" as Christians. We simply go to our Father as the imperfect beings that we are. We don't have to be wary of security guards that watch our every move or who allow only “certain” individuals to pass. We don't need to worry about how we dress or how we look. As Christians, we have direct access to our Heavenly Father through prayer. The same Heavenly Father, who created each of us and our universe, is as close to you as a simple prayer. He accepts each of us just as we are; where we are.
It's so easy to take this privilege for granted and to even believe it's too good to be true or real. For some, it’s hard to believe something so good can be so easy to obtain. I can only tell you from personal experience that God has always been there for me, even when I didn't realize it. When I finally did understand that I needed Christ in my life, it was as if God’s table was already decorated and adorned and HE was there waiting for me all the time. Perhaps you're considering accepting Christ in your life or perhaps you accepted Christ sometime in your past but haven't lived the life you know you should live. The good news is that our Heavenly Father's table is never full. He has an empty chair ready and waiting for you. All you have to do is accept Him and take your rightful seat.