Remember the experience of picking teams in middle-school PE? I’ll take Matt! I’ll take Emily! I’ll take Rachel! I’ll take Aaron! For the first-draft kids, it was great. For the second-round kids, it was bearable. For the unchosen kids, it was torture.
I wonder if we’ve transferred this selection process to our “real” lives. The plight of sex-trafficked children receives lots of attention, but elderly people languish in many nations because they have become burdensome to their families and societies. Orphans are often housed and fed, but preborn children are abandoned and sacrificed. Hungry nationals can visit shelters and food banks for staples, but refugees are corralled into holding camps.
This should not be! The Gospel of Jesus Christ doesn’t pick teams! It picks everyone. It doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t equivocate. It doesn’t place quotas on the number of individuals to receive, while leaving the rest to linger. We may live in an unjust and often unfriendly world, but the hope of the Gospel—and the mandate of its evangelists—is to receive with open arms all who approach and all who knock at its door! How can the “Good News” be good if even one can be excluded from its hope?
You are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” according to Psalm 139. But do you know who else is?
The refugee and the dictator.
The Republican and the Democrat.
The baker who won’t bake for a gay wedding and the gay couple that wants cupcakes at their wedding.
The sidewalk counselor who reaches out to a pregnant woman and the woman who enters a clinic to end her child’s life.
The woman who loses her life and the deranged man who takes it.
Not only do we each have immeasurable value because we are made in the image of God, God Himself loves each of us with a mad love! God sacrificed His one and only Son to die on the cross for youand for me and for him and for her…because He loves us (John 3:16)! To the world, such love is madness!
Next Jesus calls us to show this love to others: “As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35). Jesus calls us to a self-sacrificial Gospel-love in order to image Him in the world.
People are perplexed when shown Gospel-love, because they’re not used to it. And they’re suspicious, because surely you want something from them. Yet they’re drawn to it because it speaks the language written on their hearts by the One who wrote it there. Let us each, like Jesus, learn to lay down our lives for a friend, with a First-Corinthians love that “always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”