Imagine my fourth grade classroom on the first day of school. Students walk through the door with smiles of anticipation on their faces. Some are seeing their friends for the first time since last school year. New backpacks are filled with recently bought supplies, a cornucopia of folders, pencils, and crayons. Kids show off their first day wardrobe and everyone is excited at what the new year holds.
Everyone except for Levi. I’ve heard about him. He’s the one the third grade teachers were warning me about. Spent more time in the office than he did in the classroom. No new clothes on this kid. In fact, he’s lucky if his outfit has even been laundered recently. He walks in with a look of disdain, the look of someone who doesn’t care if you care. He’d rather be anywhere else than here at school.
I know just how to straighten him out you say? Put him by the teacher’s desk! Make him understand that’s not how we do things around here! That attitude better change or else mister! And yet, doesn’t he deserve a chance? Should he be singled out just because he doesn’t look or act the part, like the “good” kids?
What if we did that in the church? What if we ostracized and critiqued those whose lives were full of horrible sin or who looked as if they just came in off the street? Or what about those who think or worship differently than us? Sadly, that does happen in the church and God does not wish for us to show favoritism (James 2:1-10). His love is for whoever will accept it.
John 3:16- “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Matthew 10:39- “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”
Mark 16:16- “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
John 3:36- “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.”
Whoever includes whoever. It’s just as simple as that!