“…we are children of God…” I John 3:2
Children from healthy families may often tout their parents as the best, strongest, richest, smartest, etc. I can remember being amazed at my Dad’s strength while hanging from one of his arms as one or more of my sisters hung from the other arm. Holidays were always special in my family. My mother’s brothers and sister would arrive at my grandparents’ home where there was always lots of food: my mother’s potato salad, my grandmother’s fabulous broccoli casserole and pound cake, my grandfather’s cornbread, and my aunt’s sweet baking treats were all crowd favorites. From our annual Easter egg hunt, to the family cookout on the fourth of July, to Thanksgiving, to Christmas, the gatherings we shared made very precious memories… especially Christmas. There was the singing, laughing, reading Luke’s account of Christ’s birth, more singing, and, of course, the passing of presents. It was a large gathering of five families who all shared the same connection: my grandparents. We all knew we were dearly loved and nothing would separate us from the birthright of that connection.
Similarly, this week’s five understandable words provide the Believer the same certainty of belonging: to be called children of God. As children of God, we enjoy being fed by God’s Word (read Ps. 34:8), encouraging each other in fellowship, and knowing the hope of heaven as our eternal home. It should not surprise us, then, when the world rejects us and our message. John comforts Believers of his day by stating the world rejected Christ first, and followers of Christ would receive the same treatment. He is encouraging the reader to adopt an eternal view of life, knowing this fallen world is not his eternal home.
John must have remembered when Jesus taught the sermon on the mount, that those who are persecuted for His name’s sake are counted as blessed in heaven. (Read Mt.5:10-11) As Christians we will face rejection, alienation, and even opposition to the message of God’s redemption. People do not like being taught that it is their own sin that separates them from God, and satan’s dark imps seek to thwart any recognition of the saving power of Christ and His work of redemption upon a cruel cross. The one who walks by faith must recognize the rejection is not so much about him or her personally… it is a rejection of Christ - a denial of one’s need for a savior.
The follower of Christ is commissioned to take the message of God’s love, respectfully communicate the message, and love the receiver of the message… regardless of the outcome. It takes resolve, lots of prayer, and authentic conversation. We are children of God commissioned to plant the seed of God’s love in hopes of gaining an additional family member.
God’s family will gather in a great reunion one day, when the saints will celebrate by singing a new song to the Lord. (Read Re. 5:9; 14:3) And we will gather at His banquet table (Read Re. 19:7-9) to enjoy Heaven’s finest culinary treats. I don’t know what they will be, but I sure hope it includes my mom’s potato salad…