I’m buying a motorcycle! They are just so cool. Yes, I know they’re dangerous. (My dad was an insurance agent for 42 years, so I’ve heard all the horror stories.) No, it’s not so I can feel the freedom of the road. No, it’s not for the thrill. No, it’s not so I can be cool. Well, maybe a little. I’m buying a motorcycle so I can do that cool motorcycle wave! Isn’t that the coolest thing. No Harley will give me that wave driving around in my minivan. I want to be accepted in that club. I don’t have to talk cool, or even dress cool, all I have to do is ride around on my motorcycle and I’m in. (Scooters don’t count do they? I think even bikers have their standards. J) Yes, it’s that “down-arm wave” that draws me to the motorcycle community.
Last week I was walking into our neighborhood grocery store, when I noticed a 65 year old limping white man say matter-of-factly to a 40 year old athletic black man with a USMC hat, “Semper Fi”. The younger jarhead replied in a smokey-smooth voice, “Seeemmmppperrrr Fiiiiiii!”. Without another word or glance, they continued on with their different lives. So cool! If there had been a Marine recruiter outside Comptons Foodland, I’d be heading off to boot camp now. They didn’t know anything about each other, yet they were brothers. They belonged to a bigger team. It wasn’t about where they served or what their rank was, they were part of a brotherhood.
Why is belonging so important to us? Whether it’s middle school, church cliques, job approval, or PTO, we avoid rejection and seek inclusion. We all want to know that we are someone, that we matter, and that we are not alone. (So make sure you “like” this note on Facebook!) You know, the apostle Paul was in one of the biggest church cliques. He was a Pharisee. In Philippians 3:5-6 he “boasts” of his status as a Pharisee, a Hebrew of Hebrews, blameless under the Law. He belonged to the elite class of Jews. Yet his status and self-righteousness became garbage to him when Jesus called his name. He found that nothing compared to knowing and being known by his Creator. And belonging to that family came with unconditional acceptance and righteousness as a gift!
So it’s no wonder that in Ephesians 1 Paul is so excited as he expounds on the blessings of being adopted into God’s family. (Read it yourself and see how many blessings you can find that are ours because we belong to Him.) Since Adam sinned in the garden, man has been seeking to meet that need to belong in every imaginable way. But until we find that deep need met in God’s intentional love and pursuit of us to be His, we will never rest from our efforts to be a part of something bigger than us.
Motorcycle waves, the Marine brotherhood, your men’s breakfast at Panera, your Mother Of Preschoolers group are all wonderful and important connections in your life, but if they are not built on your total acceptance as a child of God, they’ll leave you needing more.