It’s always a little awkward to walk into a new crowd when you don’t know anyone.
It’s even more awkward if no one breaks off from their circle to welcome you or at the very least simply acknowledge that you’re in the room. This happened to me at a social function I recently attended. I am an extrovert by nature and can usually ease myself into the conversation, but for some reason I wasn’t meshing well with this particular group of people. They were a tough crowd and were intent on discussing matters that I wasn’t entirely comfortable with due to my faith in God. I was definitely the outcast of the party, and in that moment, I was extremely thankful for the invention of smartphones! At least I could give off the impression that “someone somewhere” wanted my attention.
Jesus knew what it felt like to be an outcast because of the gospel message that He was teaching, and He even warned the disciples that this would also happen to them as they worked to proclaim the kingdom of God and heal the sick. In Luke 9:5 He gave them these specific instructions:
If they do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.
These instructions are applicable for us in our everyday lives. If we have decided to live gospel-centered lives, then we will not always be welcome in every social setting. We have to resolve ahead of time to be OK with that and know when it’s time to leave the party. It won’t always be easy to live a set-apart life. In fact, Jesus later told the disciples that they were certain to be hated by the world on account of His name, and the same will be true for us. But the rewards are eternal if we are faithful to endure because we will gain our lives!
If you find yourself in one of these awkward situations where you are not welcome because of your faith, then take Jesus’ advice: gather your belongings and move on down the road. There’s someone somewhere who needs to hear some Good News and they’ll welcome you with open arms to join their circle.
Lord, please help me to live this set-apart lifestyle that You have called me to on account of the gospel. I understand that it won’t always be easy, but the reward is eternal life! Keep my feet moving down the path of righteousness.