Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Current Study: First Peter
Today’s Topic: Be Strange
After a long morning of hospital visits and meetings, I am sitting in the sound booth of our church listening to a young man from our music ministry play a concert for our senior citizen ministry. With some beautiful video backgrounds of nature, he has relaxed my heart and brought me into the presence of God through the free stylings of very well-known hymns.
What is also special about this event is that in a couple of months, this young man will be leaving for Africa on a short term mission trip with one of our supported missionaries. He will be conducting music seminars to train the native people to bring the glory of God to their cultural music. His purpose will be to help them write songs for worship and play their own music in ways that glorify God.
For two months he will be a stranger in a land filled with people who look a lot different than he does. He will stand out just because of the color of his skin.
Regardless of the color of our skin, we who are followers of Christ should stand out in our world. We are to be strangers wherever we are, no matter how long we have been there. The only reason not to be a stranger is if we have already won our world to Jesus so that we are all known to God and thereby known to each other.
Strangers. None of us enjoys being one. Some of us have a head start because we are already strange. But in the opening sentence of his letter to the followers of Christ dispersed all over the world, he calls them strangers. Many of them were strangers because they had been forced to move to a different land. All of them were strangers because in Christ they did not identify with the world.
What a challenge that is to me as I listen to the seniors sing a hymn with Andrew right now called, Oh Love That Will Not Let Me Go. The love of the world will fail. The love of people will fail. No matter how familiar and friendly we become with them it will not last. Only the love of God will never fail, because God will not let us go. In Christ and by Christ we have been placed into the hand of God and He will never let us go.
When we come to Jesus for salvation, we become the friend of God. No longer are we strangers to Him. No longer are we on the outside longing for what only those on the inside can experience. In Christ we are included in the great company of faithful servants of God who have discovered the wonderful abundance of life found as God’s friend.
Never again will we be called a stranger to God. But as the friend of God we must be considered a stranger to the world. Much energy is wasted trying to be the friend of both.
As for me, I desire to be strange to the world, so that I might be strong for Jesus.