They're everywhere in Jesus' stories and life.
In the story of the healing of the ten lepers where only one returned to give Jesus thanks, where were the other nine? What becomes of the significance for gratitude?
In the story that follows the one mentioned above, the woman loses one of her ten silver coins and turns the whole house upside down until the one is found. But what about the value of the other nine coins?
What about the dutiful son in the "Prodigal Son" story? He has done everything the father ever wanted while the younger son squandered his inheritance. What about the integrity of the older boy who seems more faithful?
The list goes on and on.
And, while we're at it-where do each of us fit in these stories? Are we the "good guys" or the "bad guys"? Are we the ones who do what is right or don't do enough (at least according to the Bible)?
Even today, when the press talks about certain colors that matter, it appears that the minority in each situation is who is important while everyone else doesn't add up.
In Daniel Erlander's book, "A Place For You," the First Communion book we use at OSLC to teach first graders about Holy Communion, the book is filled with illustrations of all kinds of people-different shapes and sizes, all age groups and abilities, and yes, all colors and nationalities - all welcome at the Lord's Table.
There are many points made throughout the book, but the main point for these children to take home with them is the fact that "Jesus loves everybody!" It's pretty simple. There is no one that God will turn away. I certainly believe that myself.
If we want to play math with God's work, His parables, and His real life situations, we will fail and be very disappointed in His decisions. But - if we are willing to believe that "Jesus loves everybody" like we teach our children, then we cannot fail in our attitudes of others. Whether or not we are one out of ten or even one out of ninety-nine, (or the other way around) it doesn't matter. God cares deeply for each of us.
Remember this thought as you face each new day. Remember God's love knows no boundaries and holds no prejudices.
So what if you feel left behind while God goes after the one that is lost; maybe it means He trusts you to hold things together, to love one another, and care for those around you while He's doing His thing. He'll come back; He won't forget you. Why? Because...
God loves you and so do we!
Update on Ashley Nipper - Ashley had two very good visits with her doctors this week. Even though she is still very restricted to what she can and cannot do, she is feeling stronger every day. She and David appreciate the prayers, thoughts, and cards that everyone continues to send to them. Mary Alice and I do as well. JWN