Thursday, September 30, 2004

When Will We Get It?

When will we -- the church -- get it? Our tendency is to accept people -- even lost people -- only after they have first come our way in behavior, dress, lingo, etc. Only after they have "bought in" do we pursue (maybe).

So many times in my life I have heard people say, "I've invited my friend to church. He's not a Christian, but he's a good person." That's cool. But don't "bad people" need Jesus, too? And to be honest -- without Christ, aren't we all bad people?

All this hit home with me this morning as I was reading Luke 5. Jesus was being criticized by the Pharisees and teachers of the law for attending a banquet at Levi's house. Levi (Matthew) was a tax-collector (translation: bad person). Everyone who is religious knows that you don't eat with "sinners." (That would make eating a lonely occasion, wouldn't it?)

We love Jesus' answer to those religious hypocrites. We wish we could have been there to cheer him as he spoke those bold words. Jesus answered them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." GO, JESUS!

Yet, 2,000 years later, who do we most resemble in this story? Jesus -- feasting with the social rejects? Or the Pharisees -- wanting to keep a proper image?

Do you think we will ever get it?

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