“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”
1 John 3:1 NIV
It was a simple, fun gesture from a father to a child. He didn’t mean to teach a theological lesson. He just did.
Every Sunday in our Children’s ministry, the kids would line up at the door as the service was being dismissed. Their parents would begin making their way out of the auditorium and towards the Children’s ministry classrooms to pick up their kids. Some parents moved quickly so they could beat the crowd and head to lunch. Some moved slowly as they talked to friends in the hallway. But this Father moved with a message. He just meant it for fun, didn’t mean it to be profound, but somehow he accomplished both.
By the time he arrived, the children had lined up and began eagerly anticipating their parents. Necks craned, and feet bounced as hungry and happy kids anticipated lunch. And then he arrived.
He scanned the line of children as if he didn’t recognize his own. He began to point and count as if to portray a decision was being made. And then he zeroed in on his child. He looked him in the eye and said, “I choose YOU!” Laughter ensued, and the son ran into the arms of his father. Hugs were exchanged, then the son would begin showing what crafts he made and detailing what lessons he had learned. Off they went. Hand in hand.
Of all the terms Jesus taught his disciples about God, the word Father was the most shocking and exciting. Father was a term for their earthly parent, not their eternal God. Father was a term for a patriarch like Abraham, but not the maker of the universe. Yahweh was unspeakable, Adonai was all they could muster, and yet Jesus said, “you can call him Father.”
Surely the disciples pushed back – if not vocally, at least internally. A father is close. A father teaches. A father lends a hand. A father builds a fire and tells a story. A father provides and cares. A father accepts you as you are, but shapes you into what you should become. Until this point, God had been a holiness destination, not a guiding hand to get there. But Jesus insisted. Call him Father.
The uniqueness of our relationship with our heavenly Father is that he was first our creator. We have always been his creation, but we haven’t always been his children. We have been rebellious. We have run away. We have sold ourselves into the slavery of sin. And He has come for us. Jesus paid the price for us. He called us. All of us. He pointed at you and me and said, “I choose you.” And then… it was up to us to run into his arms.
The moment we do, we become more than just his creation. We become His children. We have sauntered out of our sin, telling our dad about how excited we are to leave and go wherever he takes us.
And as John says… not everyone understands.
“…The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”
They have been given the same invitation… but they ignored it, or resisted it, or perhaps, haven’t even heard of it. They were too busy talking with their friends or sitting in the corner they didn’t notice the Father at the door pointing at them.
So they hate us. They hate we left. They hate we got to leave. They didn’t know they could go too.
So, today, maybe don’t just thank God you can be his child. Take a moment and call to your friends who don’t know they are invited as well.
Today’s prayer: Father, thank you for choosing and calling me. Help me to let others know you’ve done the same for them.