Home - About Me - Salvation - Statement of Faith

Testimonies - Encouragement - Inspiration - Links


Come As You Are, No Jacket Required


"For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it 
is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." 
(Ephesians 2:8-9)

I shook my head in disbelief. This couldn't be the right place. After 
all, I couldn't possibly be welcome here. I had been given an invitation
several times, by several different people, and had finally decided to 
see what this place was all about. But, this just couldn't be the right
place. Quickly, I glanced down at the invitation that I clutched in my 
hand. I scanned past the words, "Come as you are. No jacket required,"
and found the location.

Yes, I was at the right place. I peered through the window again and saw 
a room of people whose faces seemed to glow with joy. All were neatly
dressed, adorned in fine garments and appeared strangely clean as they 
dined at this exquisite restaurant. Ashamed, I looked down at my own
tattered and torn clothing, covered in stains. I was dirty, in fact, 
filthy. A foul smell seemed to consume me and I couldn't shake the grime
that clung to my body. As I turned around to leave, the words from the 
invitation seemed to leap out at me, "Come as you are. No jacket

I decided to give it a shot. Mustering up every bit of courage I could
find, I opened the door to this restaurant and walked up to a man
standing behind a podium. "Your name, sir?" he asked me with a smile. 
"Jimmy D. Brown," I mumbled without looking up. I thrust my hands deep
into my pockets, hoping to conceal their stains. He didn't seem to notice
the filth that I was covered in and he continued, "Very good, sir. A
table is reserved in your name. Would you like to be seated?" I couldn't 
believe what I heard! A grin broke out on my face and I said, "Yes, of

He lead me to a table and, sure enough, there was a placard with my name 
written on it in a deep, dark red. As I browsed over a menu, I saw many
delightful items listed. There were things like, "peace," "joy," 
"blessings," "confidence," "assurance," "hope," "love," "faith," and
"mercy." I realized that this was no ordinary restaurant! I flipped the 
menu back to the front in order to see where I was at. "God's Grace," was
the name of this place! The man returned and said, "I recommend the 
'Special of the Day.' With it, you are entitled to heaping portions of
everything on this menu." You've got to be kidding! I thought to myself. 
You mean, I can have ALL of this! "What is the 'Special of the Day,' I
asked with excitement ringing in my voice. "Salvation," was his reply. 
"I'll take it," I practically cried out.

Then, as quickly as I made that statement, the joy left my body. A sick, 
painful ache jerked through my stomach and tears filled my eyes. Between
my sobs I said, "Mister, look at me. I'm dirty and nasty. I'm unclean and
unworthy of such things. I'd love to have all of this, but, but, I just
can't afford it."

Undaunted, the man smiled again. "Sir, your check has already been taken 
care of by that Gentleman over there," he said pointing to the front of
the room. "His Name is Jesus." Turning, I saw a man whose very presence 
seemed to light the room. He was almost too much to look at. I found myself 
walking towards Him and in shaking voice I whispered, "Sir, I'll wash the 
dishes or sweep the floors or take out the trash. I'll do anything I can do 
to repay you for all of this." He opened His arms and said with a smile, 
"Son, all of this is yours if you just come unto Me. Ask Me to clean you 
up and I will. Ask Me to take away the stains and it is done. Ask Me to 
allow you to feast at My table and you will eat. Remember, the table is 
reserved in your name. All you must do is accept this gift that I 
offer you."

Astonished, I fell at His feet and said, "Please, Jesus. Please clean up 
my life. Please change me and seat me at Your table and give me this new
life." Immediately, I heard the words, "It is finished." I looked down 
and white robes adorned my squeaky clean body. Something strange and 
wonderful had happened. I felt new, like a weight had been lifted, and I 
found myself seated at His table. "The 'Special of the Day' has been 
served," the Lord said to me. "Salvation is yours." We sat and talked 
for a great while and I so enjoyed the time that I spent with Him. He 
told me, me of all people, that He would like me to come back as often 
as I liked for another helping from God's Grace. He made it clear that 
He wanted me to spend as much time with Him as possible. As it drew near 
time for me to go back outside into the "real world," He whispered to me 
softly, "And Lo, I am with you always." And then, He said something to me 
that I will never forget. He said, "My child, do you see these empty tables 
throughout this room?" 

"Yes, Lord. I see them. What do they mean?" I replied. "These are 
reserved tables... but the individuals whose names are on each placard
have not accepted their invitations to dine. Would you be so kind as to 
hand out these invitations to those who have not joined us yet?" Jesus
asked. "Of course," I said with excitement as I picked up the
invitations. "Go ye therefore into all nations," He said as I turned to
leave. I walked into God's Grace dirty and hungry. Stained in sin. My 
righteousness as filthy rags. And Jesus cleaned me up. I walked out a
brand new man... robed in white, His righteousness. And so, I'll keep my 
promise to my Lord. I'll go. I'll spread the Word. 
I'll share the Gospel...I'll hand out the invitations. And I'll start with
you. Have you been to God's Grace?
There's a table reserved in your name, and here's your invitation...

"Come as you are. No jacket required."

Author Unknown


Previous story

Next story


Back to Encouragement Contents 4