How many groups do you belong to? Over the course of a lifetime, we belong to many things. We are part of an elementary school class, then a work team, we participate in community efforts, we join social groups, we play on a sports team, we connect with alumni groups, and hopefully we belong to a community of faith. We even join rewards clubs so we can earn extra points on our purchases. Hello, Sky-miles!
Each group comes with a different set of membership requirements. Even on Facebook, you have to answer some questions before you can join a specialized group. Some groups have a low threshold, such as a neighborhood book club that simply asks that you read the book before coming, and some have a high bar, like having to take classes prior to joining, such as volunteering for the local fire department or hospital. Sometime churches require taking a membership class in order to join.
I have never regretted the day that I became part of Jesus’ group. Belonging to Jesus is a life-long process of walking with him. All are invited to follow him. Those who share a common belief that Christ is Lord belong to each other, and God invites us to lose our life in order to find it by living for his son.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul describes what belonging to God looks like. This is a pretty high bar. He suggests to the Romans that being a part of this group means that they don’t live for themselves anymore:
Romans 14 (Common English Bible)
7 We don’t live for ourselves and we don’t die for ourselves. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we belong to God. 9 This is why Christ died and lived: so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
What does that mean for you today? Does it seem like a big ask?
I think the beauty of this passage comes in the reciprocal nature of what Paul is describing. Christ died for us so that we might live for him. Which is the harder task? Our living or his dying?
But more importantly, whether we live or die, we belong to God. That means we share in the glory of knowing the son up close and personal. That means we share in the glory of a promised new heaven. That means we participate in the glory of the resurrection.
That means we are never alone.
Are you feeling vulnerable right now? Do you feel alone? Are you struggling with a burden that is too big to carry by yourself?
Never forget that you belong to God. He calls you by your name and he prepares a table before you. All you have to do is follow.