Saturday, January 07, 2012
No One Matters
Speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you'll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind… I Thessalonians 5:11 (MESSAGE)
I came across this the other morning. I stopped and tried to process it, especially the last part, no one left behind, no one left out.
No one? These words hit home. In essence, Paul was talking to the church at Thessalonica. These people had a lot of questions but they were striving to live right. They had pledged their allegiance to the one, true God. Their love, hope, and faith were wrapped up in Christ. I could relate to them. They were easy to like. They would be easy to fight for.
But the more I read it, the more the big picture began to emerge. My mind drifted to John 3:16, I Timothy 2:4, and 2 Peter 3:9.
No one cuts into my life, my time. Honestly, no one gets on my nerves and pushes beyond my comfort zone because no one includes everyone even the abuser, addict, homeless, hater, and oppressor. The incarcerated, liar, murderer, and molester.
The one who thinks they have it all together and the one who thinks they’re so lost, they’ll never make it.
The one who daily searches the Scriptures and the one who doesn’t care enough to even crack the Book.
The one who lives differently from me, votes differently from me, and looks differently from me. And that’s ok because it’s not about me. It’s not about the ones I have a problem with or the ones I don’t.
It’s about a God who loved enough, cared enough, and gave enough.
We dress up on Sunday mornings and drive to our million dollar buildings and sing easy-to-sing songs. We pray easy-to-pray prayers to a Savior who is like us.
Our Jesus is middle class and wears designer suits. His cologne is name-brand and His car is worth coveting. His degree is from that Christian college, you know, the one we like. The one we support. The one with the best professors and most popular lectureships. Our Jesus surely wouldn’t have a problem hanging around with us. But I wondered, would He even want to?
Would He sit on the pew beside us? Or would He be in the neighborhood that we’re too afraid to drive through?
Would He preach a thirty-five minute sermon in our nicely decorated pulpit with exactly three bullet points? Or would He be serving in the soup kitchen?
Would our Jesus, or what we perceive Him to be, come close to being like He really is? Would we recognize Him? Would we be disappointed? How far off the mark are we?
The God we want and the God who is don’t always measure up and thank goodness for that because my world view is much too limited for my God. My questions outweigh my answers and my patience, too often, runs thin.
So the next time I’m dealing with someone I have a problem loving or the next time I want to choose who gets salvation and who doesn’t, I hope those words come back to me. No one left behind, no one left out. Let me remember and appreciate the fact that He desires no one to be lost and He expects me to work on that.
I won’t lie; I don’t always live up to His expectations. In fact, I’m sometimes afraid of them and I’m ok with Him knowing that. Because no one means everyone. Even me.