Sometimes, we fear we have no common ground with God's people.We doubt if we interacted that we'd be able to sustain conversation. But if we withdraw, we miss out. And we let Satan's whispers win: "we just don't have anything in common," "I feel too embarrassed for her," "It's just too uncomfortable," "he is just so socially awkward." But need it be as difficult as he would have us believe?
Are we Christians that love Jesus as long as He sticks to our social norms and knows how to put on a good face? What about when He smells funny, or speaks with a slur? Do we love Him then? Do we love Him when he overeats? Or when He needs help understanding the bus schedule? Do we love Him when he is incoherent and confused? Do we love Him when He is rude, or when our feelings get hurt?
You may serve food at a soup kitchen, but have you eaten at the table as well? You may 'pray for the poor', but do you ask for their prayers as well? Unless we have an attitude of equal partnership and fellowship, we cheapen and divide the body of Christ. Are we really so prideful to think we have the more to offer? Jesus, the One with the most to offer, spent his time in fellowship, not charity.
It is important to remember that we ourselves have much to gain from a relationship with the marginalized. This is not a charitable endeavor, but one that is fundamental for own souls. We need to understand what it is to depend on God rather than money, to enjoy every day as it comes, and not to be preoccupied with rat race that is 'planning for the future,' to gain pleasure from relationships rather than from stuff, to respect natural resources rather than domineering over them, to trust in the daily manna rather than storing up treasures. These are skills that I do not posses in any meaningful way. Do you? In a world where some churches have million dollar mortgages, we have a lot to learn.
Let us examine who Jesus had surrounding Him in His time on earth. Who did he journey with, break bread with, live, and love with? Who did he choose to die with? Jesus chose Mary Magdalene, Matthew, Peter, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, Judas...
These were doubters, weirdos, manual laborers, 'low characters,' nerds...mostly, they were people like me: just folk, trying to find their way. How much more could we learn if we got out of the textbook, and experienced hands-on and heart-on learning?
Today, we know Jesus's disciples by name. Because they were Jesus's friends, not His charity cases. Jesus didn't call them to His death bed, just because it is what He 'ought to do.' These are the folks He walked with, shared His life with. And we are not too good for Jesus's friends. Sheer statistics tells me that there will be very few people in Heaven I might consider 'easy to converse with.' Surely, if God on High can find common ground, so can we.