God’s invitation list has no limitations

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 5, 2009

The news media continues to find out more about the husband and wife who recently crashed the state dinner at the White House. We now know they are aspiring reality-TV stars, apparently trying to profit from a publicity stunt.

The couple, Michaele and Tareq Salahi, shook hands with the president and had photos taken with the vice president and other government officials. An investigation is under way as to how they passed through Secret Service checkpoints. The incident cannot be taken lightly, due to the serious security breach and what could have happened had the couple’s motive been violence.

This couple reminded me of another gate crasher I heard about not long ago. This guy practically made a career out of crashing special events, primarily sports-related events such as the Super Bowl and the Olympics. In 2003, a book was published about Dion Rich and his escapades titled, Confessions of the World’s Greatest Gate Crasher, including photographs of Rich with sports figures and celebrities.

Dion Rich reportedly crashed 32 of the first 33 Super Bowls, frustrating the NFL’s efforts to catch him sneaking onto the field or into the winner’s locker rooms. For example, after the Dallas Cowboys won Super Bowl XII, Sports Illustrated snapped a photo of Coach Tom Landry being carried off the field by defensive tackle Larry Cole and Dion Rich.

Following the Yankees’ World Series victory over the Dodgers, Rich was seen on the podium with George Steinbrenner, Billy Martin and Bowie Kuhn. Dion Rich even crashed the Academy Awards. Now in his late 70’s, Rich has retired. But he once told a reporter 12 years ago, “The NFL has got my number. They put the fear of God into me,” and he would not interfere at another Super Bowl.

Thinking about these gate crashers brought to mind a spiritual lesson. What would happen if you and I were standing at the gates of heaven? Though it’s sometimes the subject of jokes portraying St. Peter as the gatekeeper, each of us must answer the serious question of where we will spend eternity. Why would God let us come in?

Being a good person or well-known person does not give us access. There’ll be no publicity stunts pulled, no sneaking in through another way. No one crashes the gates of heaven.

There’s only one way to enter heaven. Jesus said of Himself, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me” (John 14:6). As one writer has put it, “A person may go to heaven without health, without riches, without honor, without learning, without friends, but he can never go there without Christ.”

The guest list is not limited, God’s invitation reads, “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” and their names are written in the book of life (Romans 10:13 and Philippians 4:3). Confess your sins and receive forgiveness through believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. He promises that, one day, believers will meet their Lord face to face.