“As I studied the gospels, I noticed a pattern so consistent it almost reduces to a mathematical formula. The more ungodly, unwholesome, and undesirable the person, the more that person felt attracted to Jesus. And the more righteous, self-assured, and desirable the person, the more that person felt threatened by Jesus.”
“We see ourselves as on the side of Christ by giving to the needy. The new Testament makes plain, however, that Jesus is on the side of the poor, and we serve best by elevating the downtrodden to the place of Jesus. … the direction of charity is not condescending, but rather ascending: in serving the weak and the poor, we are privileged to serve God himself.” Philip Yancey
“Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, ‘Here’s a good seat for you,’ but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there.’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet.’, have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” James 2:1-4
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Picture the “ungodly, unwholesome, and undesirable” people Jesus embraced. Would you want them if you were interviewing candidates for a job? if you were renting out a room? as a suitor for your son or daughter? as a neighbor? And yet, Jesus built his budding “church” with such people. It’s a familiar story, but doesn’t it seem ridiculous?
- Have we “stayed the course” with this value system of Jesus, or fallen into the trap James mentions? Do you accept ungodly or undesirable people? Do you make time for them? make space for them? befriend them? love them? Does your church?
- When is the last time you had a misfit or “down-and-outer” in your car? your home? included with your friends? over for Thanksgiving dinner? What does your answer say about you?
Abba, help me to learn to love those who loved you the most. When I see the poor, help me to see Jesus there, in solidarity with them.
For More: Soul Survivor by Philip Yancey
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