Summary: Since the period of the Israelites, the Invitation has been offered down through the centuries to those seeking to find the Way...some have accepted it; others have rejected it. But it is the greatest invitation to humankind.
“Buying Milk with No Money”
By: Ken Sauer, Pastor of East Ridge United Methodist Church, Chattanooga, TN
“Get your hot dogs here! Only $5.00.”
“Ice cold Coke here, ice cold Coke! Only $7.00!”
That’s what we hear when we go to see a baseball, football, basketball or hockey game.
“Cotton Candy, get your Cotton Candy, only $8.50!”
What a deal.
In a sense, the Prophet Isaiah opens our passage for this morning by mimicking the cries of the vendors in the marketplace: “Come all you who are thirsty…come, buy and eat!”
But notice what he left out.
Isaiah says: “and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without cost.”
What is Isaiah talking about here?
Come, buy and eat…even if you have no money…
Come, buy and eat…it doesn’t cost anything!
Well, we get a picture of what he’s talking about when we look at verse 2: “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.”
What he is offering is not simply bread, wine or milk…
…or popcorn or cotton candy or hot dogs or Coca-Cola…
…what he is offering is abundant life from God the “richest of fare” which comes through God’s wisdom and salvation.
And amazingly, this richest of fare is free!!!
It’s not cheap!
But it’s free to us!!!
God has already paid for it.
God has taken care of the bill.
All we have to do is come and partake of what God has already prepared for us!
In verse 6 Isaiah writes: “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.”
My friends, God is near right now!!!
“turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on [you]…for he will freely pardon.”
What an awesome God!!!
Why do we spend our money and labor for things that don’t satisfy?
For example …
…milk is cheaper than soda pop and yet children are drinking less milk and more soda.
Now, are we really spending our money and time on what is truly good for us or are we just filling ourselves with junk?
And it’s expensive junk at that!
Or what about tithing to the Church?
The Church is the most important organism in the world!!!
It alone holds the key to Life, salvation, hope and new creation!!!
There is nothing more important to spend our hard earned cash on than the Church.
And there is nothing better for us!
When we trust God with 10% of our income…
…our faith increases…
…our joy increases…
…because we are getting our priorities in order…
…and trusting God with our entire selves!!!
We are very easily swayed by the invitation of venders to spend our hard earned money on that which “does not satisfy”.
But there is another kind of Invitation that is being extended to us…that…well…it beats all other invitations hands down…yet so many are not swayed by it!
For there are invitations, but there is also The Great Invitation.
The Great Invitation promises more than just a good time or a wonderful experience.
This invitation is filled with more joy, fulfillment, and hope than anything else could ever give us.
There are no hidden fees or agendas.
The Great Invitation comes from God, and in this case God uses the prophet Isaiah to extend the Invitation.
And it’s timeless.
It was originally extended to the people of God as they wandered in the wilderness, trying to find the way.
Soon they got so desperate that they were grasping at anything and everything that looked like an answer.
Remember the golden calf and the invitation to follow Baal?
What kinds of invitations are being made to the desperate people of today?
Too many to count, I’m afraid.
But, since the period of the Israelites, The Great Invitation from God has been offered to anyone and everyone: from prophets to peasants—from Paul to Priscilla—from mothers to monks—from Augustine to Wesley—from Billy Sunday to Billy Graham.
Many servants of God have been the mouthpiece of The Great Invitation.
…including many of you in this room this morning!!!
H.G. Wells, spoke of the “God-shaped void” in the hearts of humankind.
Do any of us have a God-shaped void in our hearts and lives?
The Great Invitation is for everyone who has been searching for meaning and fulfillment but have never found it.
The Great Invitation is for anyone who has desired so much more out of life…
…so much more than the world has to offer.
The Great Invitation is for those who feel empty, lost, and without hope.
The Great Invitation is for those who continue to hunger and thirst for ultimate satisfaction.