I don’t know if Sesame Street still uses the song, One of These Things, but it is a good tool to help children learn a needed skill. When used with pictures that either do or do not share a connection, the song prompts children to identify which objects fit with other objects. It is an exercise in logic. It is an important skill for comprehension, application and maybe even survival.
The first line of the song is “one of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong”.
As a child watches, listens and sings along, he/she is learning that there are a number of ways that things can be associated with each other, such as; size, color, theme, species, number, sound and setting.
Things that don’t belong stand out. They draw attention, provoke interest, and foster reactions. When something is out of place it causes an observer to notice it and wonder why it is present. That happened to me a few days ago. I opened our garage door to find a used and dirty birdcage on a table with wheels, sitting on our driveway and up close to our house.
I immediately asked myself -- What is that? Is there anything inside it? Why is it here? How did it get here? Who left it? What do I do with it? Where’s Steve?! I have come up with no answers other than what to do with it. I pushed it to the end of driveway for the garbage men to pick up. But for three days now, I have mentally wrestled with its presence on our driveway. It’s a mysterious enigma. The NSA may be involved.
As believers in Jesus Christ – we’re out of place. We are not of this world. We don’t fit. We are “not like the others”. When the Lord saves us He doesn’t take us home to heaven, but leaves us here to be noticed by the world. We are light set on a hill and a candle lit in a room. When the world sees us, it should also see that we are different.
Many Christians today strive to NOT be different, but to fit in and be like the others. If that desire prompts us to remove unnecessary barriers and self-righteousness, it can be good. It can please God and aid outreach. I have a suspicion, however, that our most common motive is to be liked, accepted and embraced. We don’t want to get pushed out to the end of the culture’s driveway. Not because our outreach will suffer, but because our social life will.
If the birdcage outside my garage had not been banged up, dirty and full of bird droppings, I may have kept it and looked for a bird it could house. But it stunk. So I didn’t. The world may dismiss our presence because we are like Christ, and that’s ok, but they are more prone to dismiss our message and push us away because we are personally irritating, unloving, and irrelevant to their lives.
If you and I are out of place because of what Jesus has done for us, and not because of what we have done to others, (or not done for them), we shouldn’t worry -- we are in exactly the right place. The world will notice, be interested, see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven.
Out of place can be a good place,