Luke 5:30-32 - 30 But the Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to His disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 Jesus replied to them, “The healthy don’t need a doctor, but the sick do. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
A gentle older couple from a church across town stopped by my office one day. They wanted to make me aware of a terrible rumor going around about our church. The rumor was that our church allowed anyone to worship with us no matter their past background, or their current state of sinfulness. I did not know where that couple heard that rumor, but I was quite happy to confirm that the rumor was true! Our church had worked hard to let everyone in the community know that we accept all people just as they are. I rejoiced that day that the word had gotten out about our open door policy and that people are talking about it openly in our community. I can think of worse rumors floating around out there about churches.
Jesus encountered the same kind of rumors in His ministry. Luke 5:30-32 recounts one such story. In this passage, we see that Jesus reached out to people who did not fit the typical religious stereotype. Jesus reached out to those often spurned by the religious crowd. Many people did not understand, or like, the people Jesus reached.
Jesus knew His actions were misunderstood by many, yet He made them anyway. Jesus loved all kinds of people. His love compelled Him to reach out to anyone He came in contact with, including those that others may have considered untouchable. But do not be confused. Though Jesus took each person as they were, He loved them too much to leave them where they were. Jesus challenged people to consider their spiritual condition before a holy God and called them to repent of their former lifestyles and become His followers.
Our church felt the same way. We accepted people as they were but loved them too much to leave them that way. We did not judge. We just sowed the Word of God into their lives and watched as the Spirit of God transformed them. We believed it was the church’s job to help each Christian learn to imitate Christ. However, we understood that the process took time and were patient in the process.
I thank God that our church was filled with messed up people who found a loving and accepting place where they could discover Christ and then be changed. It would be wonderful if this same rumor was whispered about churches all over our nation. When that begins to happen, we will see another great spiritual awakening sweep across our land.
Lord, help us to reach out to people who may not think they are good enough to come to church. Amen.
This post is an excerpt from the book, The Heavenly Mundane: Daily Devotions from Ordinary Experiences. Filled with stories of how God spoke in big ways through small events, the book will encourage people to look for God in the mundane things of life. Great for both personal use and to give as a gift to friend, either the print version or the e-book version may be purchased at this link: