Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

02/26/2020

Randall Caselman

 

Becoming Peculiar People

 

  Peculiar! We don’t like that title do we? But, God calls us to be peculiar, different, people. In our King James, Peter describes us as: "a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people who belong to God." Paul declares that "Jesus came to redeem us, and to purify for Himself a peculiar people, who are eager and zealous to do what is right and good." Peculiar here stands in contrast, in opposition, to the world. In fact, our modern speech translations read, “A people belonging to God” (1Peter 1.9). “A people that are his very own” (Titus 3.14). The idea is that instead of belonging to the world, we belong to God. Instead of belonging to this world, we belong to His world?

 

  Sometimes the idea of being different makes us a little uncomfortable, so we go to great lengths: To blend into the crowd, become neutral, politically correct, conforming to the mold of this world, in order to be anything but peculiar. Listen, Jesus was peculiar, different, and the greatest difference we see in His life is how He treated people: The lost, the poor, the sick, the outcast, and the needy of His day. Our challenge is to be like Him, peculiar, different. How?...

 

  By placing people before things. What counts in this life is what we do for others. The good Samaritan gained prominence in history because he was willing to place people before his money. The treasures we lay up in heaven are those given in service to others, not what we grudgingly hold to save for the future. The future is today. Jesus asked the one who stored his treasure in barns; tomorrow, whose shall these things be? C.S. Lewis said, we've become a nation who loves things and uses people. This is not Jesus in us, but the world in us. We’re to be peculiar.

 

  Let go of our prejudice. When Moses wanted to show Israel what God was like, he pointed to His impartiality: "For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality" (Deuteronomy 10.17). Prejudice is not just a cultural misunderstanding. It cannot be excused as the way we were raised. Prejudice, bigotry, is a sin. God calls us to be different, to rise above this and be peculiar.

 

  Be forgiving. Jesus taught that our forgiveness is contingent upon our willingness to forgive others. In today’s culture: Hate, Malice, Rage, Revenge, Retaliation are the order of the day. But not in God’s economy. We are taught to forgive those who have offended us, seventy times seven. Limitless forgiveness! Our marriages are worth it; our family ties are dependent upon it; friendship cannot exist without it. Our eternal destiny hinges upon our willingness to practice this peculiar trait.

 

  Cultivate relationships. God created us for relationships; as a result, nothing in life is more important than our relationship with Him and with one another. Happiness here and our eternal destiny depend upon it.

 

  So, the next time someone refers to you as being peculiar, smile and say, “I hope so!”

 

—Randall Caselman