June 18, 2016
READ: Mark 5:1-20
But Jesus said, “No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been” (v.19).
I was once invited to an authors’ party in London. It was a posh affair with caviar and oysters and a private view of a fashion exhibition. Celebrities milled through the crowd and everyone else looked like a celebrity due to their chic fashion sense.
I was alone and couldn’t find the one contact I knew was attending the gala. Forty-five minutes later I was still standing by myself, feeling out of place and on the fringe.
Have you ever noticed how Jesus sought out people on society’s fringe—those out of place and lonely? He brought lepers back into the community (Mark 1:40-45). He drew children (that others were trying to turn away) into the spotlight (10:13-16). He focused on the disregarded and arranged dinner parties for the despised (vv.46-52; Luke 19:1-10). Jesus drew those on the fringe back into community.
This is powerfully illustrated in Jesus’ dealings with a demon-possessed man. The man was on the fringe, isolated from society because of his violence and self-abuse (Mark 5:3-5). Jesus went out of His way to meet him, venturing into Gentile territory (v.1). He freed the man of the demons that were tormenting him, and then He sent him home to reunite with his family (vv.8-19).
I decided to leave the authors’ party early. As I was about to leave, I heard someone call my name. It was Rose, my contact, who had been looking for me. Rose introduced me to others and I ended up remaining at the party all evening.
My experience of isolation that night reminds me of this truth: in most crowds there are people on the fringe who don’t fit in and can’t find their way ’in’ to the ’party’. May the love of Jesus fill our hearts so that we’ll go out of our way to bring them in.
365-day plan: John 2:1-25
Read Psalm 68:5-6 and consider God’s heart for those on the fringe.
Who sits alone at church that you can befriend? At your next party, how will you reach out to those who stand alone? How has God drawn you out of isolation?