As a kid, I was always anxious when people began choosing sides for kickball, football, baseball, and well just about anything. More than wanting to be on the winning side, I wanted the captains to choose me in the first half of the draw, and clearly not the last! I always felt so sorry for the last two as the captains publicly debated who would be stuck with whom.
I am not sure that anything really changes as one gets older. Sure, the names of the games are different; but our need to belong be part of a winning side, and be wanted is still the same. Now we talk about getting the interview for the right job, getting the next opportunity, and responding to a request to be on the right work group. Variations on the same theme I suspect. Everyone wants to be part of some game! Everyone carries the need to belong and to be wanted.
I find myself wondering aloud about God. Does God really want me on his side? Is going only looking for clergy, or people who attend an institutional church? Do Christians have the inside track? What makes someone a believer? Is there a chance that I cannot play? What happens if I cannot overcome my failures? Should I play at all? Who is going to lose?
The mystery is that we are all in the game already. We are key players who the winning captain wants to have on his side. God knows every failure (insiders and outsider) and wants us on his team as we are. God tells us we will never overcome our failures, but he can take care of that for us with our help. God’s game is completely different from any other thing we know; we are on the team, chosen before we knew God existed. We win unless we chose not to be on the team! “God is the God of outsider non-Jews as well as insider Jews. How could it be otherwise since there is only one God?” (Romans 3.29,30)