Why does God call us to be different? It can be awkward… even embarrassing. Isn’t life so much easier when we just blend in?
I think Ancient Israel was thinking the same thing during the decline of the prophet Samuel. After being warned about the dangers of appointing a human Kings, they continue to insist on having one:
“But the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning. “Even so, we still want a king,” they said. “We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will judge us and lead us into battle.”” (1 Sam 8:19–20 NLT)
There is only one problem: Israel was never meant to be like other nations!
God’s plan since The Fall was to bring all of humanity back to Himself. God chose Israel to be a light to all nations (See Isaiah 49: 5-6) so that the whole world might be brought back into a right relationship with God.
The light that Israel was called to be was not a spotlight designed to search out and highlight all the
faults of other nations. Rather, it was to be more like the light of a campfire, designed to be warm and inviting… the kind of light that draws you in and gives not just a sense of warmth, but a sense of belonging.
But somewhere along the way I think Israel got confused about what it meant to be “chosen.” They were only too happy to focus on the privilege of being God’s chosen people while neglecting the responsibility that comes with being chosen. They forgot they were chosen to fulfill God’s plan, not theirs.
And they were tired. Tired of being different… tired of standing out from others around them. So tired, in fact, that their request was to be just like everybody else.
What happens when you’re called to be light in the darkness, but you’re tired of standing out? If you intend to blend in, you better dial down the light. And once an entire nation dials down the light, the world gets a whole lot darker.
Imagine a world with people living in darkness. Imagine a world where no one can find God. And all because God’s chosen just wanted to blend in.
Actually, it’s not that hard to imagine… just look around. Today people still live in darkness, they still wonder why they can’t find God. Is it because God’s chosen people are tired of being different? Or is it because God’s chosen people are simply in-different?
Either way, you have to admit the world could use a lot more light. Not the spotlight that points out faults (God knows we have enough of that already). No, we need the warm and inviting light of the campfire. We need God’s chosen to make a choice to be different than the darkness around them.
So who are these chosen people? These days, being God’s chosen has more to do with your heart-ography than your cartography. I believe God’s chosen are scattered all over this world, almost like someone was trying to light up the globe! And I believe there are those who would come to the light if that light was a campfire and not a spotlight.
Oh, and I believe that some of God’s chosen are reading this right now. The question is, do they want to blend in… or draw in?
What will you do today to stand out for God? How do you ensure your light is warm and inviting to others?