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 took 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. This is what all churches should be doing.
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 is 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 devotional is from the book “Heavenly Mundane” by Dr. Terry W. Dorsett. Dr. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at: