Being An Outsider
As clearly as I can remember we moved about every two to three years. We lived in California, Florida, Illinois, Oklahoma, Greece, Turkey, and back to Florida again. The traveling can seem exotic, but as I look back there were no lasting friendships as a child. That isn't to say I don't have some great memories. My time at these different posts were adventures and I made the most of them; I was resilient. Yet, I was always the outsider among other outsiders. Maybe the common connection of military life allowed us to connect quickly, but not deeply. We were all outsiders. I feel a Star Trek conundrum coming on; We were on the inside of the outsiders. AHHH!
We all want to be included. That's what makes being on the outside so difficult. When we feel like an outsider and can't break through the walls that others set up, we either join with other outsiders or we become isolated. In typical fashion TV often portrays outsiders as either the nerds or the outcasts. But they ban together to form their own group so that they can be the insiders. When it comes right down to it, we all just want to belong.
God has insiders and outsiders as well. Jesus tells a story about people who were invited to a party, but refused to come. The party host sent his servants to the streets and offered an invitation to everyone who would come, poor, sick, outcast; all the usual outsiders. When the original guests saw who came to the party they weren't happy, and wanted to come, but the host said, "No, you had your chance." They became the outsiders by choice.
It is an eternal story. God invites us all to be insiders. He wants everyone to be a part of his group. He has invited us to the party. We are admitted to the party through our faith in Jesus. Our trust in him gains us access. Yet, there are so many who will not believe, not trust, not obey and by doing so set themselves up as outsiders. When they die they are will look across the abyss at all the fun and want to come in, but it will be too late.
What is great about God's invitation is that it is open to everyone; the poor, the sick, the downcast, the despairing, the outcast, the hopeful, the rich, and all who will come. They can come as they are, no pretense and no judgment. God will give them a new heart, a new life, and a new family in which to belong. I'm just saying.....