Today’s Bible readings are Joshua 5:1-7:15, Luke 15:1-32, Psalm 81:1-16, & Proverbs 13:1
Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. 2 This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!
3 So Jesus told them this story: 4 “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. 6 When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!
How comfortable are you around sinners? That is a question that we must answer. I have noticed in the life that there are 2 extremes when it comes to answering this question. One extreme is where a person is so comfortable around sinners that they start to act like one. The other is where a person is so uncomfortable around sinners that they avoid them. Neither of these is the model that Jesus set for us.
I like the fact that we see that Jesus taught when He was in the company of lost people. We see that He wasn’t just “hanging out” with lost people. He was getting truth to them. This is a great example of what discipleship is. There were followers that were listening & people who were considering following that were listening as well. I love this model.
Church & small groups must be a safe place for both found & lost people to come. Found people need to grow & lost people need to be found. There is a hunger among found people to grow in the faith. There is also a hunger among lost people to experience the God that created them.
Jesus cares for those that have committed to Him. He devoted His life to teaching them. But let us not forget that He cares & is devoted to those who are yet to know Him. He died for ALL humanity. This is a statement that we all know is true. The problem is that many times we fight it when it is time to put it into practice.
We can get like the Pharisees. We get mad that the lost are getting more attention than we are. We get angry that new converts are getting more than us who have been around for years. We can even say things like, “Why are they getting all the attention?”
I am a father of 6. We go through this a lot at the house. There is always one kid who thinks the next one is getting more attention than the other. The fact of the matter is that there will be times when somebody is getting more attention than you are. It is required in parenting.
For example, who do you think needs & requires more of my attention; my 17 year old son or my 3 year old daughter? The answer is obvious; my 3 year old daughter. It doesn’t mean that I love my son less because my daughter receives more of my time. It simple means that my love & guidance has already brought my son to a place where He is grown & matured. Really, it is time for my son to start caring for the needs of my daughter WITH ME, instead of, crying that she is getting all the attention. That is what Jesus meant when He said:
40 Students are not greater than their teacher. But the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher.