I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God… – Romans 8:18-19
I am continually amazed at the unexpected people that God brings into my life. Christ’s light shines through them, and the testimony of the Spirit permeates their character. Their presence fills my life with Christ’s love. I am deeply impacted by these women and men, whom I never would have invited in on my own.
The Holy Spirit reveals these surprising individuals to me at moments when I have finally given up. As long as I am still striving to create the Kingdom myself, I cannot receive the free gift of God’s children. When I am acting under my own power, I invariably pick the people that I like the best, those who make me the most comfortable. But the Lord picks his friends differently.
As one pastor here in DC said to me recently, “we spend so much time fly-fishing when the Lord is calling us to use a drag-net!” Jesus commands us to welcome everyone into the Kingdom – not to build a social club that reenforces our own biases and cliquish behavior. The sad truth is, my own tendency is to throw a party for the people that I have most in common with, but Jesus calls me to throw the doors wide open and invite everyone – including a lot of folks whose names would not have occurred to me. The Kingdom of God is not about assembling the people we like best; rather, it is about gathering together with those whom God loves.
Despite my human tendency to stick with people who make me feel comfortable, I am slowly learning to heed God’s call to be part of a truly inclusive community. When I am able to let go of my need to create community in my own image, God unleashes the amazing power of the hidden Kingdom, in which the very people that I have always overlooked end up blessing my life. To my great astonishment, I find that my own salvation is tied up in the lives of those around me – whether they fit within my human criteria or not.