All these things spoke Jesus unto the multitude in parables, and without a parable spoke He not unto them … that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, “I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.” (John 13: 34-35)
I brought my kids to McDonalds today. You know the fun, food and golden arches kind of McDonalds. I embarked on this excursion because I am on bedtime duty tonight. Daddy has a prior engagement. Of course, I am rooting for an early bedtime so that I can fold the mounds of laundry that have accumulated in the last two days of busy-ness.
It was lunchtime and the place was packed. There were very few spaces left in the play-land section and I was extremely thankful to get a place big enough to fit us all. I was searching for a moment of peace while I ate lunch with the added bonus of burning off my children’s energy. But God used this moment to show me something and I want to share it with you.
I watched the parents sitting at the tables around me. There were a “variety” of people there. There were stark contrasts between the ladies sharing coffee while their kids played (who looked elegant and graceful in their pretty clothes, hair done and makeup accentuating their already beautiful features) to the woman and children two tables down who seemed to put no emphasis on physical appearance at all. There were definitely demographic differences between these groups, and it reflected in some of the younger kids. Some kids were heavy set. Others were thin.
The kids, though, played happily together. They did not distinguish between race, or appearance or size. They did not compare their hair. They did not classify one another based on whether their parents cooked organic food or fed them Kraft Dinner for supper the night before. They just played. Kids came and went – their laughter, screams of delight and chatter filling the airwaves without ceasing. Indeed, they acted as though they had known each other for years.
Then it hit me. The church is supposed to be like this. We are supposed to welcome people with open hearts as they come and go. We should not see racial differences or classify people according to preconceived ideas, or even how much biblical knowledge they possess. Rather, we should be accepting and loving, reaching out to new people no matter what their past history might include.
Why? Because we are members of the body of Christ and as such, we need to start acting that way. We need to love others like He did. Jesus gave those who believe in Him two commandments – the first is to love Him with all our heart, our soul and mind, and the second is to love others. This is the revelation I had in McDonalds. That is, we need to become as accepting as the children who were playing together, ending senseless judgements about others, and instead opening our arms and welcoming those who want to serve our Most High King too.
Moreover, we need to recognize that God made each of us unique in our own way for a reason. So, next Sunday when venturing off to church (or in fact any day that you are out and about) try looking at the people around you (as I did) and EMBRACE both them and their differences! Rejoice that Jesus has captured the hearts of so many different people and like you and me, given each one of them His purpose and plan for their life.
Only then will we realize that each one of us may walk a different path to get to the same point but at the end of the day, salvation and grace for one and all is the objective. Jesus shed His blood on the cross for each and every one of us. He did not just die for a privileged few. So consider the lesson God taught me at McDonald’s Play Land today … and be like those kids who didn’t once see any difference between them or their newfound friends — but instead offered their hearts in connecting with others. If we all did this, wouldn’t the world be a much better place?