You’ve got family you’ve never met

We’re all adopted. You know that right? If you’re a Christ-follower, you’ve been adopted into God’s family, and you automatically have brothers and sisters in every nation on Earth. You may not know their customs. You may not speak their language. But you both belong to Jesus.

There’s nothing more amazing to me than meeting someone from another country and instantly having a connection because you both love Jesus. Even if you have nothing else in common, Jesus is enough to bridge cultures and bring people together as long as He stays the main thing.

We’re all one family. Have you ever thought about that? So why is it easier to focus on how we’re different instead of how we’re the same?

people-crowd-child-kidToday’s verses are Ephesians 2:19-22.

So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.

Family means different things to different people. But to me, my family is one of the central, most important factors in my life, but I’m well aware that family isn’t as important to other people. But family, as it was supposed to be, is designed to be our shelter, our starting point, the place where we experience God’s design.

So what would your life look like if you had a brother or a sister you trusted? What would you be like if you were best friends with your brother or sister? Maybe you’re blessed (like me) and have experienced that relationship. Maybe you’re not, and you’d leap for joy at the thought of having someone in your life like that.

Did you ever think that maybe the person you’re looking for is someone you already know?

That guy you sit next to on the bus? If he knows Jesus, he’s your brother. That woman at the office, the one who drives you nuts? If she knows Jesus, she’s your sister. But it’s easier to focus on the things that you don’t like about them than it is to treat them like family.

It’s easy to jump to conclusions about people. Yesterday I was sitting at Mead’s listening to a guy in the corner go off the rails about how much he hates America and wants to change his citizenship and move to Singapore. And I jumped to a conclusion about the man. That he’s not very bright. But that’s wrong of me to say. He could be perfectly bright and just vocal about his opinions. Fair to say I don’t agree with any of his conclusions, but that’s not my job.

Don’t switch your brain off. Obviously sometimes you have to make judgment calls about people or situations, but there’s a vast difference between making a judgment call jumping to conclusions.

If you’re lonely or looking for family, you have one. You have access to family members from around the world. You don’t have to look very far. There are millions of people all around you who know Jesus. We just need to stop seeing them from the outside and hear their hearts instead.

You have family you’ve never met, and eventually you’ll get to see them someday. But there’s nothing wrong with looking for them now. Who knows, they may be just as lonely as you are.

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Have you ever eaten a koosh ball?

If you saw this at a grocery store, what would you think it was?

Rambutan

Some new koosh ball, right? Or a children’s toy? Or a decorative element for a new age dining set? Maybe Christmas ornaments or something to scrub your pots with?

Well, you’d be wrong. This is an image of rambutan. It’s a fruit. You peel back the outside layer and inside is a white fruit that tastes like green grapes. I had one the first time I went to Guatemala in 2007. I think they also grow in Southeast Asia.

But looking at it on the outside, you wouldn’t know it was fruit, would you?

I thought of this when I read today’s verse in 1 Samuel 16:7.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

God had sent Samuel to go annoint the new king of Israel, and he ended up at the house of Jesse. And Jesse trotted out his seven sons to let Samual choose from them, and Samuel kept going and going and going until he reached the end of them and none of them were the ones God had chosen. And Samuel didn’t understand.

The oldest seven sons Jesse had were tall and handsome and atheletic and strong. They would make a perfect king. So why was God rejecting all of them?

And this was God’s answer. He didn’t care what each of these boys had on the outside. What mattered to Him was what was on the inside. And when Samuel asked if these were all the sons Jesse had, Jesse admitted that the youngest son was out with the sheep and because he was the youngest, they hadn’t bothered to call him. So they brought the youngest son in, and Samuel knew right then that the youngest son was the one God wanted. The youngest son was named David.

So many times I think I am like Samuel. Since the outside is all I can see, I tend to make judgment calls based on what my eyes are telling me. But that’s wrong. Becuase people are more than what they look like.

Just like the rambutan fruit, someone may be strange looking on the outside but may be sweet on the inside. Many times peoples’ appearances contradict what is actually going on in their hearts, for better or for worse. And in either case, it’s not our job to judge them based on what they look like. It’s our job to love them because Jesus loves them and because God made them the way they are.

So the next time you catch yourself making a judgment call about someone you don’t understand or about someone who looks different than you do, think of the rambutan and remember that God doesn’t care what’s on the outside. God only cares about the heart. That’s all that matters to Him. So that’s all that should matter to us.