How would you define the word elite? Would it be someone who is rich and wealthy or thinks they are better than everyone else? Would it be someone who sticks their nose up in the air, a little snobbish or has special favors presented to them at all times?
In the Hollywood arena, perhaps your definition would include those who walk the red carpet, famous and wealthy who never have to wait for a seat at a restaurant and get first-class privileges everywhere they go.
In the athletic arena not only would the athletes be considered elite, perhaps your definition would also include those who have the best choice box ticket seats (or courtside) with unlimited service of drinks and food.
Eyes and ears become blind and deaf when the law is broken with those who are classified as elite — they just seem to just glide right on by.
Maybe your definition includes kings, queens, presidents and great noble men and women who are prestigious in their education, career, dress and character, not to mention very successful. They are (or have been) movers and shakers of this country and world. They are (or have) influenced major decisions that we still adhere to and carry out to this day.
Usually these elite people have advantageous positions and status that we only dream of attaining and because we do not acquire those same things, we are simply not embraced by this group.
Webster’s defines elite as: The socially superior part of society; a group of persons who by virtue of position or education exercise much power or influence. So if you agreed with any of those examples, you are right on track according to Webster.
No matter what image comes to mind when we think of the elite, what is guaranteed not to come to our minds is the image of:
• A poor homeless person digging trash out of a trash bin
• A simple farmer taking care of his animals
• Oppressed people who are bruised physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually; or
• A widow or orphan of very low status barely noticed by anyone
Nope these people would not come to our minds.
Yet they have come to the mind of God.
You see, God loves the elite. However, His definition is quite different from the world’s view. God’s definition of elite is those who are what we would call the people on the outskirts, the forgotten ones, ones pushed out from a group, ones who are never chosen in life.
He loves the elite of this world just as much, but in the Bible there is a special notice in God’s heart for those who this world, its people and the whole of society, fails to take note of.
Yet God love the lowly (Job 5:11, Psalm 136:23, Luke 1:52); the oppressed (Psalm 9:9, Psalm 103:6, Luke 4:18); the humble (Zephaniah 3:12, Isaiah 29:19, James 4:10); the poor (Luke 4:18, Matt. 5:3, Jeremiah 20:13). The weary, diseased, sick, broken, scared, discouraged, widowed: these are all who God wants to touch and He calls these His elite through His Son Christ Jesus. Why? Because of God’s one outstanding, continual, ever-present, and passionate goal of His heart; this one goal that has been dwelling in His heart since the beginning of time. What is that goal? Reconciliation! Gathering together a lost creation back to Him the Creator.
We see this great joy of God fulfilling His own vow in Luke chapter 2 verses 29-32. Simeon is giving praise to God as he takes baby Jesus in his arms blessing him. The promise of long ago was then being fulfilled as He gazed upon Jesus. The God that previously selected a small chosen group, Jewish Israelites, to represent Him; He has now extended His embrace to include the gentiles to the whole world.
What great joy! You know you are in when God Himself handpicks you for an opportunity of being in His elite group. Everyone has an opportunity to be in the “in crowd” when it comes to God’s definition.
We have the opportunity of being in that elite group; the “in crowd” that includes you, me and any other person ever who is not born of ethnically Jewish descent.
We see this again when Jesus is speaking to multitude of people from various backgrounds of life in Matthew chapter 5. Christ is pouring out this proclamation to all those who are listening. Christ in chapter 4 went throughout Galilee teaching and preaching, healing and ministering. His fame increased to Syria and great multitudes followed Him from Galilee, Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and Jordan. This crowd was full of the weary, broken, lowly, poor and humbled. These are Jesus’ kind of people, those who He not only would call elite, but would make elite by their acceptance of Him.
Jesus then proceeds to share with the crowd how blessed they are. Despite their personal dire circumstances, the kingdom of God was right there for them to accept and receive. The echoes of Simeon in Luke chapter 2 have resounded through Christ in Matthew chapter 5 as He speaks of the promise that has been brought to the people that day.
This reminds me of a story of a little poor boy in the 1800s who lived on the street like many orphans did at that time in England. Hungry, cold, dirty and half-clothed with rags, his desperation for survival increased. He peered into the large windows to see inside a church. Wanting to go in, he tried to go up the front steps and was turned down by the greeter saying, “You cannot come in,” he was told. “Why?” the boy responded with a timid voice. “Because you do not have the right clothes on,” was the retort.
Trying again, the little boy sneaked behind others hoping that he could hide behind the cloak of another. The greeter took notice immediately and reached behind to grab him on his already torn shirt. “I said you cannot come in,” the greeter said.
Finally, feeling so defeated, he walked away slowly and stood near an alley, crying. His shoulders stopped shaking from sobbing when a man gently touched him and asked, “Why are you crying?” The boy exclaimed with great distress, the details of what had just taken place.
As the boy was sharing what happened, he noticed this man was dressed in a three-piece suit, tall hat and cane. Not a blemish of dirt on him. This man did not shudder at the cold because he had warm clothes and he obviously did not go hungry thought the little boy as he looked at his stomach. The boy concluded his story and sadly looked down.
After listening to this story, this man took and held tightly the filthy hand of the little boy. He promptly guided him to the very same stairs that the little boy tried to sneak into. The greeter properly delivered a warm, “Hello sir” to the man, while looking down at the little boy.
As they entered the large wooden doors of this church, both walked in. The man had no fear or trepidation and the little boy slowly began to stand tall next to him, walking in step and his fear faded.
They proceeded to go all the way to the front of the church. The man said, “Sit here on the very front row.” The orphaned, dirty, little boy in rags sat in the front row, in the warm church, in the seat of honor only reserved for the elite. The man continued to walk to the front, stood behind the pulpit and began to give his sermon.
God’s goal is His desire for reconciliation between Himself and all mankind: to take those whom society would fail to recognize and bring them to the very front, to a place that is reserved only for a person of elite status. And He has called us to be elite through His Son.
Would you like to be reconciled with God? Ask Him and He will be faithful to answer and respond.
In what ways has God spoken to you to minister to those who are weak, lowly, poor, oppressed and humbled?
Are you faithful to complete this task?
Suggested Books: “The Misery of Job and the Mercy of God” by John Piper; “Pursuing More of Jesus” by Anne Graham Lotz
Scriptures: Matthew chapters 4 and 5; Luke chapter 2
About the Author:
Simone Lake, a full-time minister and serves in multiple areas including Bible teacher, speaker, missionary, mentor, chaplain and author. She holds a master’s degree in theology and attends Church on Randall Place where she serves in various capacities alongside her husband, Pastor John Lake.
Read more about her work and upcoming events at: www.simonelake.com or www.simonelake.blogspot.com.