The following is a guest post by Jim Hatch, Church Planter Development Director for the Presbyterian Church in America’s (PCA) domestic missions department Mission to North America (MNA). This post originally appeared in his September newsletter.
We looked forward to the wedding of our good friend this summer. But there was a puzzle I needed to solve. Nestled within the wedding invitation was a small card, about business card size, embossed with the words
Within the Ribbon
“Within the Ribbon?” Klutz that I am, I had no idea what that meant. Come to find out Jan and I were to be seated within the section reserved for family. The beautiful church was crowded. We approached the waiting usher and I showed him my ‘Within the Ribbon’ card. Nodding, he took us to the second row, directly behind the bride’s mother. It happened. We were seated as if we really were family.
I thought about that later. Treated as if family. Isn’t that what the Lord’s done with me? It struck me that as good as it was to be ‘within the ribbon’, the Lord’s done one far, far better.
Not merely treated as if family but actually made his children!
Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase, The Message, captures the wonder of it all in 1 John 3:1, “What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it–we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are.”
But the difference is even more striking. Jan and I were friends of the bride and her family. And with the Lord? We are “no longer…aliens, but are…members of the household of God (Eph. 2:19). The Lord took those who were his enemies, aliens, and made them his children through what Jesus has done. Enemies made sons and daughters.
So when I’m feeling sorry for myself, or full of self-importance, or whatever, I’m trying more regularly to look back at the Lord’s little card that he sends me in the scriptures, “Within the Ribbon” — enemies made children.