The events of 2020 have provided a stark reminder of our vulnerability as humanity, as well as the fragility of the things of this world. Unlike most major calamities, these have not only affected the poor and weak. Powerful people, systems and businesses have been toppled in the wake of this virus and subsequent economic crisis. No matter what people believe, very few people need more convincing that this world, including themselves, is broken and struggling.
Religion offers very little comfort to this besides maybe a feel-good factor and a vague hope that the afterlife might be better. Religion requires our ‘goodness’ and offers forgiveness and reward in return. Religion asks us to strive to become more like God so that we can be accepted by Him. But how does religion help when we’re feeling powerless, demotivated and crippled by difficulty, illness or despair?
“Come to me…” says Jesus. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”.
Unlike human piety and religion, He meets us wherever we are and only requires our faith and obedience as we begin walking the road to Life with Him.
Who do we favour and honour?
This week I reread the strange account (Luke 19:1-10) of Zacchaeus who climbed a tree to see Jesus over the crowds. You’ll remember that this guy was not someone you would want to be friends with, or to have as a neighbor. He was a corrupt and greedy tax official, despised as an immoral sell-out. Yet… he was favoured by our Lord.
“Zacchaeus, I’m coming to visit your house today.”
Really? Of all the good people in Jericho, Jesus picks this nasty, sinful man to honour! And so off they go, while all the bystanders’ gossip and judge and shake their heads. But inside his ungodly household that day, the presence and grace of Jesus changes Zacchaeus and his family forever. Once again, God’s unbelievable kindness leads to unbelievable repentance, as it so often does. A complete turnaround story with very obvious, visible ramifications – Zacchaeus gives half of all that he owns to the poor, and vows to repay all those he cheated with four times what he made off them!
“Today, salvation has come to this house…”
Yes, religion favours and honours the good, respectable people – but Jesus doesn’t. He favours and honours all people. Do we?
All believers are mission-carriers alongside Jesus within a disrupted, chaotic, despairing society. Like Zacchaeus, ‘sinners’ all around us are climbing all kinds of figurative trees just to get a glimpse of truth or a glimmer of hope. They need someone to really see them, to reach out to them, and to show them unusual kindness despite who they are, what they look like or what they do. They need the presence and grace of Jesus to visit with them – the same presence and grace we have dwelling inside of each of us! What a challenge to our religious selves who would often much rather join the crowd pointing fingers and shaking heads at those in the trees, than reach out to them.
Each one of us gets to become His life-changing hands, feet and voice to the humanity all around us – if we can be brave enough to follow His unconventional example and to submit to His daily leading.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…”
Whose salvation story are we going to be part of?
If you haven’t given your life to the Lord yet, but you’re thinking about it or would like to – please get in touch with us. We’d love to talk to you through the process and offer support as you make this life-changing decision.
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