I recall hearing a minister from South Africa describe his nation’s struggle to end apartheid and how the Church was instrumental in that nonviolent revolution. I was deeply impressed by his call to justice for all God’s children, especially the ones who’ve been oppressed and shunned for generations. He said, “If your prayer is ‘Jesus, come into my heart,’ His answer will be, ‘Not unless I can bring my friends: the poor, the weak, the disabled, the foreigner, the stranger, and the refugee.'”
I’ve held onto that image for most of my ministry. Following Christ is not only for the wealthy, the successful, and the prominent. In fact, usually these favored folks are the last ones to understand what it means to need help and salvation. When our Lord blessed the outcast and the alien, He was reminding us that His eternal Kingdom belongs to the ones who know they’re desperate enough to reach up for a rescue.
That leaves us with the truth that our faith cannot be a private and exclusive ticket to the hereafter. If we claim to love God, then it follows that we’ll embrace and welcome His children, all of them.