15 And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.
As I read the gospels, I am consistently challenged and convicted by the life of Jesus. Jesus’ word and His life are this constant reminders that he did not focus on the people that I typically focus on in my life. I tend to focus on people that are kind of like me: religious, middle-class, and safe. It is not wrong to minister and love people like that, BUT, this cannot be our sole focus!
One of my prayers during this season in our MCs is that we see this kingdom mindset lived out in our communities. I am really praying that we as a community can learn to see our tables as not just a place for our church people but for the lost, the last, and the least.
There are lost people around us! People that have an idea of the gospel, but have not surrendered to Christ and been changed by the gospel. Here is the conviction, are we really broken for the people that are lost around us? For people that are not experiencing abundant life and are headed for an eternity separated from God? I pray that this sober reality becomes more and more real to us.
There are people in this world that are just different. It is the people who have fallen through the cracks in life that are forgotten about. This is the widow in your apartment complex, the person who spends all of their time focused on an obscure hobby, or the person at work that everyone avoids. Friends, these are the people that Jesus came for and has sent us to! The people that the world forgets, the church must pursue! Because their precious children are made in the image of God.
Jesus over and over again speaks about caring for the poor. When the prophets in the Old Testament spoke out against God’s people, many times it was about their indifference to the poor! This is one of the things that made the early church so unique and so compelling. The way that they loved and sacrificed and cared for the poor. I pray that we could be seen in the same light!
I pray that the tables in our Missional Communities begin to look like Jesus’ tables. Tables include people who love God, people who are far away from God, people that look different than us, and people who the world has forgotten.
How do we take steps in this? I would encourage us to do two very basic things.
Invest in people that different than you. Find space in your life to be around the lost, the last, and the least. Invest in the Least by serving at the Hub each month. Invest in the Lost by prayer-walking your neighborhood or participating in your kid’s school functions or taking your lunch break around people and not by yourself.
The only way we will see the lost and the last and the least in our communities is by intentionally orientating our life around the lost and the last and the least!
As we build relationships with the lost and the least and the least, we must follow through with inviting them into our lives and to our community. Inviting people in takes love and boldness. The good news is that the Holy Spirit provides both! Inviting people is an essential skill and practice that we must continually cultivate for the good of others and for our joy.
As people take steps into our community they get to see the gospel lived out in real life with real people! As people take steps into our community they begin to get a taste of a spiritual family! As people take steps into our community the world begins to see that the community Jesus people are different! As people take steps into our community we are stretched spiritually in ways we cannot imagine!
Please know I am praying for each of you and striving side by side with you!