12 May, 2022

Different from the Herd

by | 7 March, 2022 | 0 comments

By Stuart Powell

There is nothing strange about a herd of cattle in the farmland of Indiana. However, one herd contained a single member who stood out among the many. Amid the collection of four-legged bovine grazed a two-legged, feathered, web-footed, white goose. Nothing could hide the differences between the bird and the other grazing animals.

Christians are called to be like that goose in the world. Just as a goose doesn’t belong in a herd of cattle, followers of Jesus don’t fit in with the ideas and priorities of worldly people. God expects us to intermingle with the rest of the herd, and for our differences to provide a stark contrast with sinful humanity. Jesus highlighted this difference when he told his disciples,

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you (John 15:18-19).

If we are committed to following Jesus’ example of living and loving to reflect God, our differences will stand out. We are called to display Jesus’ compassion, forgiveness, and gentleness to all people. We are equipped to serve and encourage nonbelievers. Those differences will invite many reactions from those around us—curiosity, sympathy, rejection, and sometimes hatred.

We are different from the people of the world because we believe Jesus died as a sacrifice in our place. We are different because we believe he rose from the dead and ascended to a heavenly throne. We are different because our sins have been taken away, our shame has been replaced with hope, and our selfish choices have been transformed into displays of grace.

The world hated and killed Jesus without just cause. His body was pierced for our restoration to our Creator. His blood removes the stain of sin on our hearts. His sacrifice can unite every person in human history.

We never should forget these truths. When we pause to eat this bread and drink from this cup to remember Jesus’ death, we fulfill his command, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). Eat the bread to remember Jesus’ body. Drink from the cup and give thanks for his sacrifice. Celebrate being different from the herd.

Stuart Powell lives outside of Terre Haute, Indiana, where he serves with the North Side Christian Church.

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