Saturday, August 31, 2013

Church of Misfit Toys (pt 2)

So, as I was rereading some of my recent posts, I realized that my original "Church of Misfit Toys" post bounces between a couple concepts... 1. That it's the misfits Jesus reaches out to; and 2. That it's the misfits who tend to understand what it's all about. The first is actually Biblical. The second is simply my own interpretation of 1 Corinthians 4:9-13. And, my original "Church of Misfit Toys" tends to focus more on the 2nd point. So... allow me to go back to the 1st point for a moment....

Luke 14:12-14 (The Message)
Then he turned to the host. “The next time you put on a dinner, don’t just invite your friends and family and rich neighbors, the kind of people who will return the favor. Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits from the wrong side of the tracks. You’ll be—and experience—a blessing. They won’t be able to return the favor, but the favor will be returned—oh, how it will be returned!—at the resurrection of God’s people.”
What is it about this one piece of scripture that has me coming back to it? Quite simply - because it talks about me. It talks about many, many people I know. It speaks of most of my friends and loved ones.

My own family - my husband is disabled. While that disability brings in a small monthly pay, it's no where near what it could be if he were able to be employed. My own paycheck? I work full time for a wonderful company - but with 6 kids (5 of whom I still provide completely for), this pay barely puts food on the table. My kids don't get name-brand clothes. Most of the time, they don't get new clothes. They survive off of hand-me-downs. They can't get their friends expensive gifts. They can't pay for their friends when they go out to eat or go to movies - they're lucky if they can pay for themselves.

My kids don't get to go out whenever they want. While they are starting to get a bit more freedom, much of their lives have been spent having to help care for their father, and their younger siblings, so that I can continue to work. They've had to witness their father taken away by ambulance more times than any child should have to. They have had to cancel dates with friends because their father had to have surgery and needed a caretaker - or at least a helping hand.

My kids have had to overhear people talking bad about their parents - their dad is worthless because he doesn't go anywhere or do anything to support the family. Their mother is horrible because she stayed home with 6 frightened children rather than go to the hospital with the father of those children when he had to have a transplant.

And sadly... this is only my story. I know so many people who have it as bad, ,or so much worse, and it's no different. They're poor. They're worthless. They don't care about their kids. They shouldn't have had kids. They're pathetic. They're losers. Don't invite them to dinner. They wouldn't bother inviting you...

Well, you're right. People like me don't host dinners. And you have no clue how guilty we feel about this. A few months ago, we got a new pastor. It seemed everyone at the church was inviting this guy and his wife to dinner. But not me. And not because I didn't want to. I would love to have people over. I would love to host a dinner (even though I burn most everything I make). But I can't. I can't afford it. And I can't guarantee my husband will be up for company due to his health. And my home is little more than an arrangement of misfit, hand-me-down furniture. 

But because of this - because people like me and my family don't invite others over - no one invites us. We're pushed aside, deemed unworthy. We're tossed in a corner, considered little better than dirty laundry or, worse, trash. And so very few take the time to recognize that we're worth so much more than that. So very few take the time to recognize that we're the one Christ speaks of in Luke chapter 14. We are the marginalized. We are the abandoned. We are the unworthy in the eyes of man...

And yet, we are the blessed in the eyes of the Lord.

Moving on...

I truly believe that it's the misfits we must allow into our homes. It's the strangers who seem to have nothing. It's those in need, whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually. We cannot marginalize people. We cannot leave someone in the cold simply because we don't like the looks of them, or because they are obviously beneath us. 

One of my favorite verses (and, about the only worthwhile thing I was taught by my parents)... Hebrews 13:2...
 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it

One of my favorite songs is "What if Jesus Comes Back Like That" by Collin Raye ( Great song... and so true. I urge everyone to listen to the song...

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