(Luke 5: 29-32, NLT) 29 Later, Levi held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honor. Many of Levi’s fellow tax collectors and other guests also ate with them. 30 But the Pharisees and their teachers of religious law complained bitterly to Jesus’ disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with such scum?”
31 Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. 32 I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”
At my son’s pediatrician’s office, there are two waiting rooms – one for sick children, and one for those who are well. The purpose of separate waiting rooms is to keep the well children from getting sick, obviously. Children are young, and they have weak immune systems, so they have to be protected from infection and disease. But who is there with them? Sick or well, who is by the side of each child? And who is it that moves among them, reaching out to administer healing to the sick, and to make sure that the ones who are well stay well and continue to develop properly?
Just like children in a pediatrician’s waiting room, some of us are sick and some of us are well. We are all growing – some of us are much less mature than others – some of us need more attention…more care – and the ones of us who are sick have to take precedence over those who are in good health. That’s just the obvious, natural way of it. Wouldn’t you be in shock if you were at the doctor’s office with your sick child and you kept seeing all of these well children getting called back while your baby is leaned up against you, helpless, miserable and worsening by the moment? You’d probably get up out of that chair and find someone to confront – you would advocate for your helpless child, wouldn’t you?
Well there are a lot of sick and helpless children of God out there, and they are stuck in a waiting room and they need someone to speak up for them. They need to see the doctor, and they just don’t know how to get there…nor do they have the strength to figure it all out.
Brothers and sisters, we are not called to sit amongst ourselves. We are not called to simply live out the ideal – the American Dream. We weren’t created to sit back and enjoy a good, privileged life in the “well” waiting room of life while others are struggling and hurting – sick and tired. The fact is, we were each created according to the purpose and call of God for our lives – which is to further His kingdom, to reach out and love those who have been deemed unlovable, to be the literal and physical representation of Jesus Christ to a lost world that is broken by sin. That’s it, folks. That’s our collective purpose, and sometimes we have to step out of our now to assess the how – how are we living out that purpose?
The truth of the matter is that we often get wrapped up in each other – in our church lives – and, subsequently, the heart of what we should be trying to accomplish gets lost amid the fellowship, the fundraisers, the projects, the systems, and even our worship. Don’t misunderstand me…I fully recognize the importance of these routines. We have to minister to the body, and it has be done in a very different way than how we reach out to the rest of the world, but we do have to continually ask ourselves, “Are we reaching far enough?”
“Healthy people don’t need a doctor – sick people do.”
Jesus said it. So the truth is, you’re probably going to have to associate with scum from time to time. You might have to hug someone who is dirty. You’ll probably have to go places that shock you and make you sad from time to time. That’s part of it, because that’s our broken world. That’s why we have to solidify our own faith and be the strongest and best that we can be, so that we are able to withstand the things that we encounter as we seek to fulfill our purpose as ambassadors for Christ in the world.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for my life. I know that I am blessed far beyond what I deserve, and I pray that You will help me to never forget that. As I continue to grow and mature in You, give me all of the boldness and compassion that I need to reach beyond my surroundings and love those who are broken by life. May it all be for Your glory and honor. Amen.