I work in a public school. It can be a challenge sometimes, but when we work unto the Lord (Ephesians 6:7), our jobs can be rewarding as they turn into ministry opportunities.
In our school there are many clubs, sports and other extracurricular activities. There are also many academic branches (Math, English, Science, Spanish, etc.) and some specialized programs such as ELL, Migrant and ESE.
ESE (Exceptional Student Education) is a large department in our campus, which deals with hundreds of students. Some ESE teachers visit the classrooms to support the students, while others remain in the same classroom all day. This latter one is known as “Inclusion.”
As I reflect on this, I am reminded that I belong to the heavenly “Inclusion” program of salvation. For some unknown reason, God decided to include me in the ranks of those redeemed by his blood.
This is nothing but pure, unmerited and undeserved grace. I was an evil sinner; an atheist that despised Christ and the church and yet, He chose to save me and include me in His eternal family.
The Bible says that we are,
“…accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6).
When a person believes in Christ, he or she “receives” Him (John 1:12) as Lord and Savior. We have no other choice or option, because Jesus is the only way to heaven (John 14:6).
Jesus, on the other hand, has the ability to choose and accept those whom He wants to save. He doesn’t need to receive anything; he doesn’t need to save anyone, in fact He doesn’t need anything or anyone.
And yet, He chose me “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4) to be his son. This is the best inclusion ever! The Creator of the universe included me in His family; I am the child of the King of kings!
My aim then should be to include God in my life and (as some say) “give Him the control” of my heart. As nice and sweet as that sounds, it is simply unbiblical. We can’t give God any control, (He is already in total control). We however can and must submit to Him in humble obedience.
And as far as including God in our lives, the answer once again is to surrender and submit to his will. The more we immerse ourselves in Christ, the more we will be “included” in his plans; and the more that we die to sin and the flesh, the more that the life of Christ will be manifested in and through us.
Lately, I have been reading about the recruiting frenzy in the United States, especially in regards to College Football. Last Wednesday was “National Signing Day” and thousands of High School student athletes from all over the country signed their Letter of Intent to enroll and play in their chosen university.
This day marked the culmination of a year-long process of recruitment. Coaches and other staff members call, text and email the athletes on an ongoing basis. Many of them go so far as to travel to their schools and homes in hopes of “reeling in” the prized prospect.
Recruiting goes on all the time…and not only in sports. The Armed Services is always looking for new recruits and so does the FBI, the CIA and most other government agencies. The private sector also engages in this process, as well as most religious organizations and cults.
The so called Jehovah’s Witnesses are very effective in recruiting and adding new converts to their false church. They, along with the Mormons, are frequently engaged in visiting homes and other places with the purpose of proselytizing others.
And what can we say about the church of Christ? Are we actively calling unbelievers to come to Christ for salvation, or are we just recruiting believers from other congregations to join our fellowship? This unbiblical recruiting of members of other churches goes against everything the apostle Paul stood for. He respected the ministries of other preachers.
“…so that we may preach the gospel in lands beyond you, without boasting of work already done in another's area of influence.” (2 Corinthians 10:16)
God is sovereign, and He moves his people according to his will. It is one thing for the Lord to move us to another congregation to use us for his glory and quite another for pastors and church members to “recruit” brothers and sisters away from their home church.
We have been called to be “fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19), that is, to evangelize unbelievers and bring them to Christ. Pastors and church leaders have likewise been instructed to “feed the sheep” (John 21:17), not to steal sheep from other churches.
I wonder how many churches still require reference letters from other churches. It is more difficult to go from one job to another, than to hop from church to church. New jobs demand a Resume, an application, references, interviews and even drug tests.
Many Christians leave their congregations with impunity, knowing that a host of desperate churches will admit them, no questions asked. It is time for us Christians to honor Christ and respect his church. It is time to bring unbelievers to the church and to keep believers in their church.