Tuesday, December 29, 2009

"'JOIN THE CLUB!' -- Devotional for December 29, from "Good Seeds"

We are members of one another. (Romans 12:5; Ephesians 4:25)

Isn’t this what you say whenever someone says something about himself that sounds just like you? “He’s talking about me, describing me to a T.” Someone complains, “Why do I get sick every time I have a little time off work?” and almost as a knee jerk response someone else says, “Tell me about it!” – which is just another way of expressing that common sentiment, “Misery loves company,” or, “No one likes to drink alone.” We all know that while success attracts many admirers, "nobody knows you when you're down and out" – nobody, that is, but genuine friends. You may have fewer real friends than you thought, but those few true blue friends are probably more loyal and loving than you might have thought, too. So, what do we mean when we say, “We are members of one another”? Well, we share membership in the body of Christ with other Christians, but that’s not quite the same as saying we belong to one another. Both statements are true, but most of us still have much to learn about the latter. “I go to church to worship Christ,” someone says, and then continues, “and if you’re there, I’ll be glad to see you, but I’m not going for you, but for Him.” Well, that’s a crucial priority, of course, but too many well-meaning believers unknowingly become saintly snobs as they play down the importance of their fellow travelers on the road to glory. When answering a Jewish scribe’s question, “What is the greatest commandment of all?” Jesus couldn’t seen to narrow it down to just one, as requested. Why? Because He knew that “loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength” means nothing, and cannot be authentic, apart from “loving your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:28-31). Remember the song that said, “I am a rock, I am an island”? Let that not describe you! Even though God loves each of us individually, and would have died for just you – or just me – if you or I had been the only one needing saving, the fact is we who love the Lord are legion! Although we can only receive salvation one at a time, through the turnstile of faith in Christ, what a comfort to know that millions have done so – and they keep coming! When my pastor baptized me along with a few others, I still remember him saying, “These have come to Jesus, responding to His grace, receiving His forgiveness, and now obeying Him in the waters of baptism – and yet there is room.” It was that last statement that sticks in my mind: “and yet there is room.” A song says, “There’s plenty of room in the family!” Will heaven be over-crowded? We can only hope so, but I’m afraid an over-populated hell is by far the greater concern. What can you do about that? Just make sure you join the club, the right club, and pay your dues. Remember, we are members of one another!

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