The last one chosen… or maybe NEVER chosen – the pain of exclusion!
Perhaps you’ve experienced it – or you’ve talked to those who have. It’s painful – no, more than that; it’s psychologically and emotionally damaging! In fact, some people never get past the pain of exclusion! I’ve watched little boys and girls on the playground with tears running down their face and seen them sulk off by themselves to bear the wounds of exclusion. And painful rejection and exclusion are not only childhood experiences – it happens to adults! Rejected for organizations, for jobs, and excluded by “the in crowd.” The pain of exclusion is a universal social tragedy.
But God doesn’t do it! In fact, His promise is, “Whoever comes to me I will NEVER cast out!” (John 6:37) and the parable of the Prodigal illustrates it beautifully!
Sometimes when we read the Bible we get the idea that “Jews” are “God’s chosen people” and “Gentiles” are the last ones chosen – the “Johnny come latelys” – an “afterthought” in God’s program of things. In the eternal scheme of things they are only the afterthoughts – the rejected ones through the centuries, standing off in the corner of the playground, wiping the tears from their eyes… And God finally says “Well OK, I guess I’ll take him or her on my team!” No! A thousand times NO!
This morning I read this wonderful, inspired passage that Apostle Paul closes his epistle to the Romans with…
“This message about Jesus Christ [the Gospel] revealed God’s plan for you Gentiles, A PLAN KEPT SECRET FROM THE BEGINNING OF TIME. BUT NOW AS THE PROPHETS FORETOLD AND AS THE ETERNAL GOD HAS COMMANDED, THIS MESSAGE IS MADE KNOWN TO ALL GENTILES EVERYWHERE, so that they too might believe and obey him! All glory to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, forever.! Amen! (Romans 16:25–27 NLT)
So we’re NOT “John-come-latelys!” We’re NOT an afterthought – a reluctant choice! We were included in God’s wonderful plan of salvation through Christ from the very beginning of time! How did the old Gospel song put it…
“Jesus included me!
Yes, He included me!
When the Lord said, “Whosoever,” (John 3:16)
He included me!”