We live in a world that promotes exclusivity. It’s a pyramid shaped society, with room at the top for the certain few, with very many climbing up the various ladders to reach that apex. We talk about social climbers, ascending the corporate ladder, buying the upmarket address. The world tells us that if we can engineer ourselves into a position where we can feel superior to others by belonging to a small, select group, we have achieved something.
How different this was to the life and principles of Jesus Christ. He travelled throughout the land of Israel, preaching His message and performing His miracles to all who would follow Him. He ministered to noblemen and officials, shepherds and beggers. He loved people who were traditionally excluded by the general public and sadly, by those in religious life. He associated with lepers, women of dubious morals, taxmen, zealots, criminals, the poor and needy, sick and dying. He didn’t consider himself to be too important to make time for children.
Christians are the last people on earth who should feel exclusive. The bible tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) but that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”(Romans 5:8) There was nothing that anyone could do to make ourselves worthy of what we have received. What utter gratitude we owe our Heavenly Father for the price paid for our salvation.
Because we have been given such a gift, we owe it to the world around to share it with others. There is no excuse for becoming a small, select community that fails to care for the unchurched, both at home and overseas. We all have workmates, neighbours, family and others who are dying inside without the gospel.
And what of that new person who visits our church? Or the person who is sitting alone, week after week, in the pews, while we sit with our same groups of friends? What about the one who hurries away afterwards or stands alone in the courtyard, on the fringes while we chatter away unaware in our twos and threes, with cups of tea in hand? It’s quite surprising, when you share with people, how many Christians who love the church service are anxious about the social interactions afterward and feel isolated. It’s not a rare phenomenon by any means. Blessed are the ones who widen the circles and welcome others into their midst.
“He [God] is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2Peter 3:9) God wants everyone to come into relationship with Him, through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. How wonderful to be included by Him. He is inclusive and wants us to be likewise.