“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.'” (Luke 5:31-32)
An elder of the inner-city church where I served advised me that if I was serious about connecting with families in the local neighborhood, I had to get my hands dirty. In other words, I had to get involved in the messiness of people’s lives rather than doing ministry from a distance.
Jesus not only ministered to people who were outcasts of society — such as tax collectors who overcharged people and filled their own pockets — but he also called them to be his followers and to teach others about him. And when people like Levi invited Jesus to celebrate their radical life-change, he joined them and their friends, no matter how motley they might have seemed to “respectable” people. The outcasts were like sheep without a shepherd, and Jesus had come to give them — and all of us — full life.
Sometimes we who are saved may think we are too sanitary to share the good news with people who are lost in sin. Jesus calls us to search them out and to love and guide them to spiritual health, as he did.
It’s easy to judge others who sin differently than we do. But what if we pray for people whose sin disgusts us? What if we show kindness to people who suffer from addictions, who are rebellious, or whose political views differ from ours? Then we’ll be getting our spiritual hands dirty.
Thank you, Jesus, for cleansing the filth of my soul. Help me to show others the grace and love you have shown to me. Amen!