Inclusive/Exclusive

   

     ".....and as many as touched Him were made whole."  Mark 6:56........."One of the great uses of Facebook and Twitter will be to prove on the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time."  John Piper
     A friend shared the other day how Mark 6:56 showed both the inclusiveness and exclusiveness of the gospel, and more particularly, of Jesus Christ.  He said that the phrase "and as many" showed how the invitation of Christ to the wholeness of His Life was for everyone, inclusive.  The phrase "as touched Him" showed at the same time the exclusiveness of that invitation. Everyone is invited to His fullness, but it is only those who lay hold of Him who receive wholeness of His life.  The question for you and me today is, which group do we currently find ourselves a part of?  Here's a hidden truth.  We may be "saved" today, but still find ourselves standing outside that exclusive group.  How?  By our never really laying hold of Him, entering into an intimacy, a fellowship with Him that is of the sort He has with His Father and the Holy Spirit.  It's in that place that we find the fullness, wholeness, the healing of His risen life.  We may have some degree of His life, but we are far short of the life He died and rose to give us.  That life is "exclusive" for those who wish to be, like Caleb, ones who walk in "another spirit."  It's a life always looking to take the next step to the higher, wider, deeper place in Him.  It doesn't wish to just "touch" the garment of Christ, but to be clothed in Him.  It is an exclusive place.  How desperate are we to live there?  And, if we're not living there, what is it that keeps us from it?
     I included John Piper's quote about prayerlessness simply because it is our obsession with the lesser that keeps us from the greater.  It is our satisfaction with the good, that robs us of the best.  Christ stands before us, life wide open, offering us His wide open life.  As I heard it put, He calls us to a narrow way, but a wide life.  More often than not, we're blinded to that life, and settle for at best, a middle way, and a mediocre life.  Or at worst, a wide way leading to no life at all.  Every day at every moment, He passes by, and calls us to Himself, but we're far too caught up in our pleasures, our other interests.  Knowing far more about what those we follow on Twitter are saying than what the One we claim to follow with our heart is saying right now.  We want everyone on Facebook to know what we're doing and thinking, yet have no idea of what it is He's saying this very minute.  How close is that to "truth" for us today?
     Jesus said that "Many are called, but few are chosen."  Do we ever ponder what He's saying in that?  His invitation is free and open, but I think the meaning of being chosen by Him is defined by the heart that desires not just a part of Him, but all.  They are chosen because they long for the fullness of His fellowship and life, and are drawn to His invitation to it.  There is no desire for a life on the fringe.  The desire is for a life immersed, saturated in Him.  So it is for the chosen, the exclusive.  So many of us want to be part of something exclusive here on earth, but so few desire to have an exclusiveness in our walk with Him.  Set apart. Called out.  Chosen.  Does this really mark us?  In His ministry, crowds thronged to hear and receive from Him.  Yet, in John 6, when He invited them into a deeper, fully committed walk with Him, it is related that "many turned away and followed Him no longer."  Jesus looked to His remaining disciples and asked if they too would leave Him, to which Peter replied, "Lord, where would we go?  You have the words of eternal life."  Where and to who do we, are we going today?  We've been invited.  Will we be found among the chosen, exclusive to Him alone?  Or, have we found something, someone else to choose, to go to?

Blessings,
Pastor O 
 
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