The Cost of Club Membership

“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!”
Psalm 1:1

All right, I’ll admit it! I have a Far Side Calendar and I enjoy it! In fact, I think I might even be addicted to the interesting but inspired humor of Gary Larson.

When I received my new Far Side Calendar with its daily tear-off pages, I had to fight the temptation to look at the whole thing in one sitting. Larson’s off-the-wall tongue-in-cheek insight into life is every shade of crude, comical, and convicting. His unique characters offer a poignant commentary on the human condition.

Such was the case with the April 18 installment of my 1991 Calendar. Picture the scene: A busy street with motorists speeding by in rush-hour haste. A group of dogs sitting by the side of the road as one of their kind emerges wide-eyed and terror-stricken from the traffic. The caption capturing the insanity of the event: “All right! Rusty’s in the club!”

That is certainly a pithy commentary on our desire to belong.

The scene depicted on my Far Side Calendar is played out every day on school campuses, executive boardrooms, social gatherings, and even in the back seats of cars!

The desire to belong and to feel accepted, important, and significant in the eyes of others will drive human beings to do almost anything. Humans will endanger their lives, abandon their ethics, sacrifice their morality, plunge into debt, or any number of other things in exchange for club privileges.

Club memberships are issued daily in exchange for honesty, chastity, integrity, and sanity — all this, because we want to belong. The words “Members Only” have a sweet ring to them, especially when we are members! They are words that make us feel good about ourselves and even embolden us to snub unfortunate non-members.

It is not easy dealing with the pressure to belong. It can literally cause us to ache and hurt inside. It can cause us to lose sleep as we struggle with whether we will pay the price of membership. It is not easy dealing with the pressure because most people would rather belong than not belong. And that’s o.k., after all, we are gregarious creatures.

We must however, soberly consider the cost of membership. In most cases, our membership dues are non-refundable. If you ever tire of being a part of the club, you can quit and leave, but without your dues.

Just ask the young teenager who offers chastity in exchange for club privileges. You can never get virginity back! Just ask the young couple buried under an avalanche of debt. Getting out of the club will be far more costly than getting into the club! Just ask the businessman who offered his integrity in exchange for membership in the club. Like Humpty Dumpty, his integrity and credibility may never be put together again!

So, before you dash through the traffic to impress dogs, I mean people you might not even like, stop to consider the cost of membership in the club. If you have to do that to be accepted, it would behoove you to look for another club!

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