Genesis 26:17-27:46 Matthew 9:1-17 Psalm 10:16-18 Proverbs 3:9-10
In yesterday’s reading, we read how Jacob stole the birthright of Esau for a bowl of stew. While Esau was complicit in his own failure, today it appears that Jacob and his mother, Rebekah, used deceit and treachery to steal from Esau something that was rightfully his, the blessing. While this story has more than enough to discuss, I have chosen a different portion for today’s devotional thoughts.
10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.Matthew 9:10-12
It seems to me that Jesus is clear that those who are the farthest from his love and touch are the ones we should spend the most time with our lives. But if you listen to some Christians, nothing could be further from the truth.
I remember going to a Christian conference once and hearing the speaker tell the story of a mission trip he took to Australia. They were in a restaurant that also served as a bar in this remote location. He decided to start a conversation about Jesus with one of the patrons. This patron had a frosty beer in front of him our speaker noticed. He said this made him uncomfortable and when the man said he would be happy to speak of things of faith over a beer, our speaker demured.
Now I think if Jesus had been there he would have accepted the invite, sat down, and had a drink of whatever the gentleman was drinking. Maybe it’s just me, but I think our speaker lost an opportunity to, maybe the only opportunity, to share the gospel with this Aussie. When I read the passage from above I cannot help but think Jesus would have loved a dive bar, not for the beverages necessarily, but for the opportunity to speak to its patrons. I don’t know if these people are “sick”, but as our speaker told us, this man knew little of Jesus, but did say he didn’t like the “Jesus” people because they were, according to him, odd.
Our speaker went on to tell us that we have to be careful where we go and with whom we spend our limited time, we must go to those who want to hear the message of hope and peace. My thought was, and is, did he judge this mans willingness to listen to him based on the beverage in front of him? I think we need to take advantage of the opportunities God puts before us, no matter how uncomfortable it may make us feel.
16 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”Matthew 9:16-17
We have to think in new ways (read the Scripture above) in order to reach people. So put away our preconceived notions and share your life in Christ wherever and however the opportunity presents itself.
What do you think? Until next time, peace.
Tyndale. The One Year Bible NIV (OYB: Full Size) (Kindle Locations 1511-1512). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.