What does it mean to belong?
I’m asking this morning because my daily Bible ready plan had me in John 17, where Jesus prays “They do not belong to this world any more than I do.”.
I’ve always just assumed that it meant that we do not belong here…that heaven is our true home and we’re only here for a short time anyway. We were displaced souls, fortunate enough to have been displaced on the only planet that would provide air, water, and wifi.
I’m thinking it means something else though. The word ‘belong’ is from a Hebrew word better translated ‘of’ – and it’s the form of ‘of’ that is used in the genealogies….you know, so and so, son of so and so, son of so and so, and so on.
Rather than ‘belonging’ meaning ‘it belongs there’, as in “That dish belongs in the cupboard….”, the belonging referred to by Jesus is a matter of ownership or genealogy. It’s not just about placement – in fact, it’s not about placement at all – it’s about authority and ownership. When Jesus said you don’t belong to the world, He wasn’t encouraging interplanetary migration. He was clarifying the org chart.
I had a former assistant who would jokingly respond to my directions with the school yard retort: “You’re not the boss of me…”. The joke, of course, was that I indeed was the boss of her. (To clarify – and in case she’s reading this – she was a remarkable team member and a good friend. But I was the boss of her.)
We need to start reading that passage in John 17 with this sort of emphasis. The world is not the boss of you. You live here. You eat, breath, and make your way here….but the system of the world has no more grip on you than you allow it.
You’re not held down by it’s value system. You’re not bound by preordained writ to conform to it’s norms. You’re not destined to repeat your mistakes. The world hosts you, woos you and screams for your affections….you but it doesn’t own you.
Freedom from the belief that you’re chained to a planet as a form of pre-eschatalogical purgatory begins now. The Boss of you is much, much higher.
Filed under: Uncategorized |