After being around baseball my entire life, I have the superpower of being able to spot a baseball boy or a ballplayer’s love interest from any in a crowd. I brag now that I can almost certainly guess what position a player occupies just by the way he acts and appears off the field. A well-primped gal sitting alone at the ballpark is usually a dead give away that she’s connected to a player—but there are other subtle hints. Sometimes she is occupied with her smart phone or a book until a certain batter’s “walk-out” song or a new pitcher comes into the game, and then she’s on the edge of her plastic seat.
As easy as it is for me to identify those connected to America’s favorite pastime, our love for Christ should be equally apparent to others. I’ve had moments when I’ve failed so miserably at exemplifying the characteristics of a Christ-follower, and others where I have felt close to God by living according to His will.
When Jesus came to Earth as man, he loved the “unlovables” of society. It’s so easy for me to have compassion for other stressed-out mothers, or the hardworking patriot, or children who are sweaty and sticky from summer and popsicles. Lately I’ve been challenged to love what I subconsciously classified some of humanity as “unloveable” –those who aren’t like me, or sin differently than I do (Matthew 5:46 and Mark 3:35). However, if we as Christians are to be Christ-like, the first identifying markers would be our love for God and our love for people. Despite my best attempts to separate my worth and value into a higher category, Christ does not differentiate. He lumps us all together, all Children of God, and deems us all worthy. And thanks be to God! For no one is righteous (Romans 3:10). We are all equally worthy to receive His grace, and equally loved by our Heavenly Father (Romans 5:8). May our identity as Christ-followers be evident by our love for our neighbors, even those who are hardest to love…. And perhaps we should even love them the most.
- If you love those who love you, what reward do you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? Matthew 5:46
- Jesus said, “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:35
- As it is written: “No one is righteous, not even one.” Romans 3:10
- But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8