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Unlikely

“If all it takes is sociology to explain  your church, then you are probably not much of a new creation of God.”

 

That is what a guest speaker whom I had invited to preach said one Sunday morning.

 

What he meant was that if normal social demographics were the best predictors of who attended your church, then, well – your church was mostly a result of normal social demographics, instead of the supernatural power of God.

 

When Jesus chose Twelve to be with him and to send out (Mark 3:12-19), at first glance, their selection could be explained by normal social demographics.  They were all Jews, they were all men, they were all from Galilee.  A pretty bounded set.  No women, no Gentiles.

 

But, a closer look shows that Jesus blew it, if he wanted a tight group with strong affinities.    Two examples suggest that something unusual was happening.  Simon, the Zealot and Matthew the tax collector, that’s trouble right there.  Simon’s greatest passion would have been to overthrow the Roman government, and Herod’s illegitimate rule, as well.  Matthew, on the other hand, made his fortune by working for the government.  Think of the polarity between management and union, multiply it by ten and you get close.  These two would have been bitter enemies.  Before it was all over, they would aspire to love each other as Jesus had loved them.

 

Here in the South, we are too nice not to like everybody.  But, it is interesting to see if we have meaningful relationships in Christ with anyone who is not pretty much like us.  Our lives are structured to mostly keep us with people who are just like us, even at church.  Class, social economic level, and education are some of the primary factors that keep us collected with our own.  It’s nearly impossible to break out of those patterns.  They are so set.

 

But, here is how we will know that Jesus is at work in us.  There will be some people in our lives who are becoming dear, even essential to us, who would never make our invitation list for a cookout at our house.  Not yet, at least.

 

Don’t bother feeling guilty about this.  Just start paying attention to people around you.  A life-transforming friendship might be ready to erupt just because Jesus called you both to be with him.

 

Do you have an unlikely friend?  Are you an unlikely friend to someone else?