By Marieanne Rose
It was a Friday afternoon…we had no plans for the evening…so Karl and I talked about going to a movie. Looking at what was available, we chose to see “The Greatest Showman”, a musical following the life of P. T. Barnum and the phenomenon he birthed and called The Circus.
As a child, my family lived in the inner city of Detroit and my dad served a church in one of the poorer sections of the city. Family income was limited and we weren’t able to indulge ourselves in luxuries like buying tickets to the circus. Sometimes, I would look at the ads in the Detroit News and silently wish we could go, but it never happened. Unbelievable as it may seem–at the age of 77–I still haven’t been to the circus!
Unbelievable as it may seem–at the age of 77–I still haven’t been to the circus!
I have a rather vivid imagination and there has always been a kind of unspoken fascination about circus life. I’ve heard of people fed up with the way things are going who dream of leaving it all behind to join the circus! Yes, it’s a joke, and I never really knew anyone who did such a crazy thing, but there was the wonder of a nomadic life…with no home to care for…few responsibilities…fewer demands on my time…the possibility of living with no worries about the future. The fascination of a carefree life…my goodness…what would that be like?
Off to the movies we went!
Poor P. T. Barnum–he had fallen in love and all he wanted to do was support his family! Good jobs were scarce, and he was a man destined to stand in the “center of the ring.” After a few failed attempts, he was struck with a unique idea! He would search out and bring together an unusual group of misfits who had suffered rejection, ridicule, and humiliation their entire lives because of their uniqueness! Weird in appearance with rather strange abilities and talents, he began small and his group grew–almost, in spite of himself–into a company. Actually, a FAMILY of characters who love and celebrate each other!
He began small and his group grew-almost, in spite of himself–into a company. Actually, a FAMILY of characters who love and celebrate each other!
It’s a heartwarming story (true or not) and leaves you with that warm, fuzzy feeling many of us enjoy after paying to be entertained!
It didn’t stop there for me…I was touched by the success of this community he formed by accident and I wondered: Did P. T. Barnum stumble into this or was he actually inspired into forming something amazingly similar to what we now enjoy and call the body of Christ?
Ridiculous, you might respond, but please consider the element of embarrassment we experience when we actually admit to the possibility of being a “misfit” ourselves!
It’s true that a few in the body of Christ are beautiful people, world changers, equipped at solving the great problems out there. We’re happy for them and yet, most of us don’t live in that place. We’ve grown quietly content, satisfied to serve in small ways while not considering God might want to alter our path and shift us into something a bit more challenging.
We’ve grown quietly content, satisfied to serve in small ways while not considering God might want to alter our path and shift us into something a bit more challenging.
We’re grateful for the acceptance and love we’ve discovered while walking with Jesus. Some of us have found fruitful ways to serve others and to use our gifts. But, I’m not sure we’ve quite arrived at the place where we really celebrate others’ accomplishments while being celebrated ourselves.
P.T. Barnum took what the world had judged as flawed and unacceptable in these dear ones and was able to engage them in such a way that the shame-filled rejections and disappointments took on a healthy flavor of joy, acceptance, and even pride in their uniqueness! This band of misfits evolved into something quite wonderful and resulted in cause for great celebration! If a mere man could do that, we know our God is able to do so much more!
Jesus takes what the world has judged as flawed and unacceptable and engaged it, or us, in such a way that the shame-filled rejections and disappointments can take on a healthy flavor of joy, acceptance, and even pride in our uniqueness. Because Jesus has called us to be His own we are able to shed our old wineskin to make room for a shift, a new mantle, a fresh assignment for this season in our lives. Change is exhilarating and fun…a roller coaster ride!
Jesus takes what the world has judged as flawed and unacceptable and engaged it, or us, in such a way that the shame-filled rejections and disappointments can take on a healthy flavor of joy, acceptance, and even pride in our uniqueness.
We can expect something new to open up before us and can sense a new breeze blowing. We’re never too young, too old, or too set in our ways for change! He’s designing a service unique and perfect for us. When we’re afraid and unsure whether we’re ready for this…He calls us in our uniqueness to something wonderful! He calls us to His family of misfits and it results in great celebration.
Feel adventuresome? Why not let Jesus use you and your uniqueness to accomplish His mission?