We all hear of the crimes that happen on the news, or the next political outrage, or hear yet another reason why we shouldn’t trust this or that. Often, the churches response is to become afraid, and unwilling to trust the world we live in and form “holy huddles” so we only have to interact with people we already trust and know. This behavior is one of the largest criticisms of the church, “You guys talk of caring for the community but I never see you out here?” or “ I came to church once in need of some friendship and no one even acknowledged I was there!”.
Sometimes there are just unfortunate circumstances that looked bad and are out of our control, but other times it’s an intentional exclusion. caring for the body of believers is not a bad thing and in fact is expected of us as Christ followers to do; but when it is the only thing we do, we fail to carry out the churches mission.
Jesus knew this of course and gave as a wonderful example on loving them “un-churched” people in Luke 5. In this passage, Jesus loves on Levi the tax collector and even asks Levi to follow beside him. In return, Levi throws a feast for Jesus along with his tax collector friends. Now no one else in the land had a bigger “holy huddle” than the Scribes and Pharisees and they where very upset at Jesus for interacting with the “heathens” of their time.
Jesus’ response was so simple and yet so revolutionary.
“And Jesus Answered them, Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” ( Luke 5:31-32 ESV)
Remember who we are claiming to be, Christians—Christ followers. Jesus seemed to want to bring healing to the sick, not the healthy. Jesus seemed to go where no one else wanted to go, not to where it was most comfortable. Jesus seemed to bring the sinners to repentance, not the righteous. So why don’t we? We need to remember that our faith is not only a personal relationship with God, but it is also a call to go out into the broken world and show them the light of hope we have in Christ Jesus. So yeah, the world might be scary and untrustworthy but the love of God is vulnerable—there are bound to be times when we are hurt for loving people. I mean after all, God was hurt when we murdered his son. God’s love is also more powerful than anything in this world, we might get hurt, but God has our back—nothing can stop us when we have Yahweh on our side.
So care for your brothers and sisters in the church yes, but don’t lose sight of the “sick” in the world who need Jesus just as much as you do.
©Isaac Cain, 2019 --Used by permission