19 August 2008

Membership has its privileges...

Remember when that catch phrase was synonymous with American Express? We all bought into the hype - wow! with this credit card, you are a "member" and there are certain privileges that only members of this club are afforded. It made you WANT to carry that credit card because that meant you had ARRIVED, you were a "member" of the club. [I know I sure felt that way the day I was approved for mine. I was an "adult"].

But now, you can be a "member" of almost anything: shopping clubs like Sam's, Costco or BJ's; book clubs; social networks; health clubs; even websites now have "memberships" where if you are a member, you are allowed access to more information than the general viewing public. I should know - I am in the process of designing some personal and family websites and setting up the permissions and privileges for "members" has been one of my biggest tasks. I mean, everybody can't see everything about you. Some things need to be shared with only the chosen few.

And then, there are the different levels of membership. You can be a regular member, or a gold member, or even a platinum member - depending on the different levels determined by the host entity. Of course, each level has different (and presumably better) benefits the higher you climb up the hierarchy. Of course, the cost associated with each level is exponentially higher. It is great to be platinum level with your frequent flyer membership - you get higher priorities on standby lists and sometimes, automatic upgrades to first class - but you have already paid for those benefits many times over every time you flew coach (and sat in the middle next to the screaming, hollering baby or were talked to incessantly all the way from NYC to LAX by the seat mate who just would not shut up! - sorry, flashback), or every time you got bumped from a standby list. Believe me, you've paid for that status or level of membership by the time you get it.

Another thing to remember: membership is always a choice. You don't have to accept an invitation to join when the offer is presented. I am a avid Facebook member and I get requests frequently to join various groups online based on my list of hobbies and interests. I join some, but not all...it is a choice. There have even been groups that I have joined impulsively only to realize "Hmm, maybe this group really isn't for me". [That is especially true with applications to add to my profile...I mean, do I really want my friends to send me online strippers?!]

There is one "club" where the rules above do not apply and that is membership in the family of Christ. There is no hierarchy at the foot of the Cross - it is a level playing field for all who come. It doesn't matter if you are rich or poor, male or female, young or old, Black or White (or taupe - inside joke)...we are all the same: sinners saved by grace. The price was paid for all of us by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. All we have to do is accept His free gift of membership. And you even have a choice about that...the invitation is extended ("Behold, I stand at the door and knock"), but you don't have to accept it. What a loving God! Even knowing that our lives are better or would be better with Him in it than without Him in it, He still gives us a choice to accept or reject "membership" into the family. I don't know about you, but I am glad to be a member of His family. I mean, how else could I be the "favorite", right?

Be blessed.

PS: Information about my personal website coming soon. Website http://www.godsfavoritechild.com/ still under construction, but I hope to have it up and running soon. Pray for this effort. Thanks.

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