(I must insert this disclaimer at the beginning of this blog that by no means do I consider the people in this community to be fallen, forgotten or obsolete. It’s only an illustration of my point.)
Wayside. Are you familiar with that word? Usually it’s connected with 2 statements:
- Gone by the Wayside
- Fell by the Wayside
I’ve wondered where in the world is Wayside? Well, I found it. I noticed it the very first time we traveled down to see our new pastoral appointment. I’ve been meaning to do this post, but wouldn’t until I stopped and got my proof. Well, Saturday on my motorcycle pilgrimage, I stopped and got these pictures as proof I know where the Wayside is located. Think about the previous 2 statements concerning the Wayside.
Gone by the Wayside. This means that something has become obsolete, like those heavy “brick” looking cell phones, which by the way, was my very first cell phone. Fell by the Wayside. This means to fail to continue or to drop out. Obsolete. Dropping out. These images are used to describe some values and people. I’ve always wondered where they went, and now I know.
When people “fall by” the Wayside, often they are either treated with great disdain or completely forgotten. People shake their head with a degree of sadness and leave them there, by the Wayside. And when long-standing Christian-Judeo values are considered “gone by” the Wayside, people shrug their shoulders, forgetting those values and declare they are now more enlightened than their superstitious ancestors. So, the Wayside becomes the place of the forgotten.
I know where the Wayside is, but does Jesus know? Absolutely He knows! The fact is He does far better and far more work in the Wayside than in many sterilized and sanitized sanctuaries. Jesus leaves no one behind. He came back for Peter after His Crucifixion, though Peter denied 3 times that he knew Jesus. Remember the Angel’s message to the women that first Easter morning? Mark 16:7 (NLT) records: “Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you before he died.” He would have come back for Judas, if Judas had not given up too soon.
The work of Jesus and the Kingdom of God is for people who have fallen by the Wayside. Paul reminded the Corinthian church of this fact in 2 Corinthians 5:18 (NLT)–“And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.” Look again at the bottom of this sign welcoming people to Wayside:
“A Little Bit Of Heaven”. If you feel like you have fallen by the Wayside, hold on to that last line. Wayside is a little bit of heaven because it’s a place filled with God’s grace that will forgive, redeem and restore anyone and everyone who has fallen. Jesus doesn’t hesitate to go by the Wayside because it’s filled with those for whom Jesus insisted on dying for. And where should the church be today? Well, I think that other sign says it all:
What if we all became the Church for The Wayside? It would probably be a bit messy, but it would also be a bit of heaven. Love God with all your heart. Love others the way Jesus loves you. And make sure all the glory goes to Him!
Postscript: Don’t consider yourself obsolete if you embrace and try to live by the values of the Kingdom of God. And don’t consider His Values obsolete.