As we were out ministering this morning, a thought occurred to me. I remembered what I was taught:
- “You don’t want to go to THAT part of town.”
- “You don’t want to be seen with THOSE people.”
- “If others see you talking to that person with the bad reputation, they might associate you with their lifestyle.”
Many of us have been trained to keep up with appearances. Jesus didn’t. He was already controversial and didn’t have a thing to lose. You might say, “Matthew, Jesus is the Son of God. I’m not that great or powerful.” This is true, but Jesus ministered to the kinds of people many of us were taught to avoid – the poor, the drug addict, the alcoholic, the wife-beater, the guy who spends more days in jail than out.
With this in mind, are you sure you really want to be like Jesus? Do you really want to follow His example and minister to societal outcasts? Do you want to be criticized for ministering to people that many preachers are hatefully preaching against?
Following Jesus is more than showing up in a fancy building once a week, dropping $5 in the offering plate, singing a few songs, and listening to a preacher. Jesus called His disciples to take up their cross daily and follow Him. If you say you are “saved”, this is what you are supposed to be doing. If all you did was say a prayer to give you some fire insurance, you have a false security and a horrible idea of why Jesus died for you. He did not go to the cross so you could abuse His grace and expect preachers to do what God called all born again believers to do.
Once again, I would like to ask you this question: “Are you SURE you really want to be like Jesus?”