One of my favorite childhood stories is The Sneetches by Dr. Suess. It tells the tale of two groups of the same fictional creature that are cliqued together by the presence and the absence of a green star on their bellies. Those with the stars participate in exclusive events, while those without are excluded. More conflict follows, and you’ll love how it ends — But don’t take my word for it. Be warned there may be spoilers ahead.
Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes. – Romans 10:3-4
Christian of the 21st century have the tendency to be the star-bellied sneetches, or the modern-day pharisitical Jews. We are really good at identifying each other through our branding, participating in exclusive events together, and making sure others know they are not on the same level as us. We believe through family heritage, denominational existence, or culture perpetuations that we have increased in value and rarity like a fine wine. By comparison, we may look at others struggling with more physically or mentally identifiable sin, rolling in the hot mess of their struggles, and working through the consequences of poor choices, and keep them on the outskirts because they are a little too rough around the edges. Be informed. We all are the same sinful species.
For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him – Romans 10:12
Again I say, woe to you, Christian. You may be in a different position, but it is like comparing one steaming pile of muck to another. We are rotting stacks of stench that stink, stank, and stunk. Polishing one pile of manure doesn’t make it more appealing than the pile to the left or right. However, one thing is true. With age, compost makes some pretty fertile soil. In this process of breaking down, we come to terms with who we really are in Jesus Christ and can grow the seed of the Kingdom of God.
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. – Romans 10:9-10
Our eyes shouldn’t be focused inward on our marshmallow roast, but rather outward, leading others to the saving conversations about the grace of Jesus Christ. There are so many who already know Christ but are ashamed to try to live more abundantly because of the odor their life is currently putting off. It is good to remind them you’re a decaying mess too. Love like Jesus. The bigger the trash-fire, the greater the compassion, cause Lord knows we need it too. The same creatures with the same Lord.
Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- What stood out to you most in today’s chapter and devotion?
- Have you ever been guilty of a “better than…” attitude? Is that a good way to attract more people to become followers of Jesus? How can you improve?
- How pretty are your feet? Re-read Romans 10:12-15. How and where can you take the good news beyond your saved little circle/clique to the hurting world who is just like you?