Matthew 9:9-13(The Message)
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.
Later when Jesus was eating supper at Matthew's house with his close followers, a lot of disreputable characters came and joined them. 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?"
Jesus, overhearing, shot back, "Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: I'm after mercy, not religion. 'I'm here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders."
How many of us have gone to a church where the "insiders" were in constant strife over some doctrine, rule, etc at church? Been there, done that. What outsider would want to be part of a church like that? I am not one for titles concerning churches. Catholic, Baptist, Methodist etc. I want to be part of the church of "Mercy." How many more people do you think would come to Christ if we were truly the church of Mercy?!
Jesus sent his twelve harvest hands out with this charge:
"Don't begin by traveling to some far–off place to convert unbelievers. And don't try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously.
" Don't think you have to put on a fund–raising campaign before you start. You don't need a lot of equipment. You are the equipment, and all you need to keep that going is three meals a day. Travel light.
"When you enter a town or village, don't insist on staying in a luxury inn. Get a modest place with some modest people, and be content there until you leave.
" When you knock on a door, be courteous in your greeting. If they welcome you, be gentle in your conversation. If they don't welcome you, quietly withdraw. Don't make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way. You can be sure that on Judgment Day they'll be mighty sorry––but it's no concern of yours now."
We don't have to go to some far away land to do the work of the Lord. There are many lost in our own back yard. The verse that says "Bring Health to the Sick" just struck me this morning. We don't see a lot of "big" healing miracles this day. God gave men the ability to invent ways to conquer disease. Maybe it is time to look at this verse in a different light other than praying and seeing a "Healing Miracle." Maybe we need to take the poor to the Dr and pay for a Dr appointment so they can get what they need to get better? Maybe more doctors need to do pro-bono work to help the poor. Maybe the churches need to travel less to other countries and spend the cash on the medical needs of the poor in their community! This is true Christianity. True Christianity is all of us in the community pooling together to meet the needs of all. I could do with one less computer and take someone to the doctors instead!!! What could you do without and put the money aside to take someone to the doctors office when in need? I am going to do some thinking about how to better serve my community.