Come and See
August 16, 2023 | Chad Vinson
Some moments in life shape you and you never forget them. One of those for me happened in the Fall of 1994 when I moved into my dorm room to begin my new college experience. I was three and a half hours from home and about to begin this new journey and the only person I knew was my roommate who was from my high school. This small-town boy was out of his comfort zone without a doubt. Looking back, I was at a crossroads moment in my life.
I can vividly recall the excitement of the newfound freedom, but on the other hand, the nervousness about stepping out in an environment where I was the new guy! Those first couple of days were busy adjusting to campus life and attending all the events for upcoming freshmen.
Then it happened…I was sitting in my dorm room relaxing and I hear someone knock on the door. A knock was odd because the guys on the hall would never knock, they just walk on in. As I opened the door, I am met with this big smile and the guy says, “Welcome to Appalachian State University, I am Alan from Campus Crusade for Christ and I would like to invite you to...” I cannot remember what he invited me to, but for some reason I said, “Yes!” And that “Yes” to Alan’s invitation changed the trajectory of my life.
Let me ask you a question—what comes to your mind when you hear the word, invite? Maybe what comes to your mind is “to welcome someone,” “to include someone,” or “to make a request of someone.” The intention of the word “invite” implies a desire to want to be with someone in the context of a relationship and to want to go somewhere or do something with that individual. When we invite someone to be with us, it has a sense of belonging and including the other person.
This is exactly what Jesus does throughout the Gospels. He extends an invitation to those around Him. Remember, when Jesus was selecting his disciples, He invited them to join Him. He said to them, "Come and you will see” (John 1:39). Jesus invited them with the words, “Come and See.” He was going to take them somewhere and show them something. This “come and see” is an invitation that literally means to “show up.”
This invitation became a pattern in the Gospels. When Nathanael raises a question, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip’s response is “Come and see” (John 1:46). The Samaritan woman with whom Jesus had the conversation at the well returned to her village and invited everyone in it, “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” (John 4:29). This pattern of “come and see” continues in the book of Acts as the early church begins to develop its roots. Peter, Stephen, Philip, and Paul—when they were sharing the gospel to the Jews and the Gentiles—began with this consistent invitation to “come and see” this man they called Jesus.
That day in the Fall of 1994, when Alan knocked on the door of my dorm room, he was inviting me to “come and see” how a man named Jesus could heal the hurt I was carrying around. He kept coming by and inviting me and I kept showing up! As the years passed, I remember him one day saying to me, “Now it is your turn to do the inviting.” We went together and walked those same hallways where I used to walk and we knocked on that same door, which at one time was my door. And instead of it being me to open the door, there was another freshman who opened the door. “Welcome to Appalachian State University, my name is Chad, I would like to invite you to….” Those college years are long gone, but the invitation remains the same: “come and see."
Personally, I don’t want to fall into the trap of talking about the glory days of the past. When I uses to be engaged with inviting others to “come and see” and experience God changing the hearts of those around me. Life has changed for me, which I am sure it has for you as well. May we together be expectant in what God can do in the present and future.
Let’s take the initiative to extend an invite to those where we live, work, and play to “come and see” Jesus as we enter their world in a relational manner. It simply requires us to be willing to be used by God to give the gift of time and show the love of Christ to those who were once like us! As we invite others to “come and see” it just might be a day they will never forget!