Jesus said, “… I have come to call not the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17)
Having gone through Hurricane Harvey I was reminded of another storm—Katrina. In 2005, we watched whole neighborhoods being flooded, people looting, and some even dying, and horrendous conditions throughout New Orleans.
In response to the horrendous conditions in New Orleans, Houston opened up the Astrodome to welcome thousands of evacuees. The Dome was once called the “8th Wonder of the World.” As I witnessed so much help and support to so many, I knew I was seeing an even greater wonder.
Those in the Astrodome with resources began to find hotels close by. Unbeknownst to them, some prostitutes supplied their services in these same hotels.
As a church, we felt called to feed dinner to these people. We made enough food for hundreds, but no matter how much we put the word out, only a few came to the church for dinner.
We re-grouped. The people weren’t coming because they couldn’t get to us. So we went to them. During the next few months we fed over 13,000 people warm dinners.
As we were feeding our Katrina friends, we surmised that we might also be feeding some who worked in those rather notorious hotels. Those running this ministry didn’t care who we fed.
But not all felt that way. A woman in the congregation asked to speak to me and to the leader of the feeding ministry. The leader and I sat down with her and she said, “I support feeding the New Orleans people, but I’m not comfortable feeding some prostitutes. Doesn’t that bother you?”
We both said it didn’t. She asked, “Why not?” Before I had a chance to respond, the leader said, “It doesn’t bother me because I remember Jesus saying that He didn’t come for the righteous, but the sinners.”
I wish I could say that this unhappy woman immediately began to serve. She didn’t. But she did stop grumbling. Maybe she didn’t want to argue with Jesus.
I encourage us to see Jesus, find Jesus, and serve Jesus not with the righteous but with the sinners. Let’s look for Him among the lost, the lonely, the fallen, the compromised, while knowing they are us and we are them. Unless we identify with the unrighteous, I wonder whether or not we have Jesus and if He has us.
- Do you identify with the unrighteous? If so, how? If not, what do today’s words from Jesus mean to you?
- If you had been part of the feeding ministry to evacuees, would you have been bothered if you had found out that some of that food had gone to prostitutes? If so, why? If not, how come?
- Do you know that there aren’t any righteous folks and that we’re all sinners? If you do, how does that make you feel? If you don’t, what is it going to take to accept that you are a sinner just like everyone else?