We began the LIVE SENT series as a refresher this past Sunday (October 17th). The first teaching was entitled “intended to live sent.” If you want to listen to it, you can by CLICKING HERE. Please do give us some feedback and questions if you are willing. Hope you are encouraged and challenged by those resources.
One passage of Scripture that we referred to during “intended to live sent” was Matthew 9 and 10. Therein, you can read the story of Jesus declaring the need for workers of the harvest, calling that first team of His, sending them out, and coaching them. Very rich and meaningful passage. But Jesus said something in those chapters that is a bit of an indictment for the church of America, at least generally speaking. Read this from Matthew 9:
9 Passing along, Jesus saw a man at his work collecting taxes. His name was Matthew. Jesus said, “Come along with me.” Matthew stood up and followed him. 10 Later when Jesus was eating supper at Matthew’s house with his close followers, a lot of disreputable characters came and joined them. 11 When the Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company, they had a fit, and lit into Jesus’ followers. “What kind of example is this from your Teacher, acting cozy with crooks and riff-raff?” 12 Jesus, overhearing, shot back, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? 13 Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’ I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.”
Now, I want to ask one question. And I think this question applies to every follower of Jesus. Whether you are what some people call “laity” or what some call a “pastor” or even a Pope, for that matter, this question must be considered. Why? Because if you follow Jesus but you don’t focus your daily living on mission the way that He focused His, then you may not be following Jesus. Is that fair?
Here’s the question:
is your everyday life as a follower of Jesus living on mission focused on caring for the sick or the healthy?
Think about it.
Now I am not saying that each of us aren’t “sick.” We are. Included in the Gospel (the “good news”) is the not-so-good news of how selfish we are and the consequences that we face because of our the self-absorption. That bad news of course is met with the good news that God did not wait for us to say we were sorry for being so selfish with Him, but instead acted first to restore and forgive even before we sought forgiveness.
The point I am simply making is that if you focus all your ministry efforts, whether as an individual or a local church family together, on attracting more and more “healthy” people, providing programs to appease families who will keep bringing their kids and “tithing” their money and paying your facility maintenance costs, then you are focused on the healthy and not the sick. And if you think of church as “what it does for me” instead of “how I am the church to others,” then you are definitely focusing on the healthy and not the sick.
My friends Billy and Jason just got back from St. Petersburg, Russia. One of the things they noticed there was that when leaders are looking for the next place to minister, they don’t look for the most attractive place where maybe a “church” can grow well. They look for the darkest place where people who are so broken might be restored when met with the unconditional love and gracious mercy and infinite compassion and overwhelming forgiveness of Jesus. They look for the sick.
Is your “church” or are you as the “church” focused on giving yourself away to the sick or to the healthy?
Lord, please awaken @WestpointChurch and the Dukes family to relate to and party with and dine alongside and serve the sick more than the healthy. Leeland has sung it well recently:
I’ll follow You into the homes of the broken. I’ll follow You into the world. I’ll meet the needs of the poor and the needy God. I’ll follow You into the world.
Please share your thoughts…