© Bill McCown | www.myghcf.com
When the true, unadulterated teachings of Jesus were still freshly hanging in the air, the people to whom He spoke who took it most to heart were the social outcasts. Many of the religious Pharisees and the comfortably rich mocked Jesus for hanging out with the sinners and the sick. But God, in His inimitable way, was teaching an upside down logic. Instead of being drawn to the powerful and rich and famous, and fawning over them as the world does today, He rather looks to the weak, poor and fragile, not with disdain but with loving desire. Remember, blessed are the poor!
God knows mankind's terrible birth handicap...his broken nature. This is a nature once whole and complete with God; a shining example of God's perfection now turned weak and sick and feeble in its moral abilities. This great God does not hate the sinner, but rather with eyes full of grace and mercy, compassionately calls and woos back His lost little lambs. His example of loving the unlovable is one to follow. In the eyes of Jesus, the poor and downtrodden are the heroes; they have nothing and know it. There is no pretense anymore for those who know they are the worthless of the world. So when Jesus told them they could be children of the King of Kings and that He would love them and never forsake them…they flocked to Him, not for His money or power, but His message gave them hope and life in their dark world.
For the first few centuries, Christians were the humble models of godliness in their feeding the hungry, visiting the prisons, taking care of the sick and assuaging the pangs of the deprived. Then—BAM, along came religion! Constantine decreed Christianity to be the "religion" of his kingdom. I'm sure he meant well. You can command religion as he did, but you cannot command relationship with God…that is voluntary. So the church, now infused with pagans and pagan ideology, slowly morphed into a system intertwined with politics and the pursuit of wealth and power. Even today, some churches will not allow the ragged and the "smelly" to sit in their front pews. I am glad our little church's doors (both physical and of the heart) have always been open to those in need. We have ministered to those who show up in short-shorts and a "Whiskey Willie’s” T-shirt or those more affluent in the physical but poverty ridden morally and spiritually. The clean, orderly, program-driven, prosperity-seeking crowd filling many of the churches today seems a far cry from the original "motley crew” of dedicated servants of God.
I pray that you would truly listen to the radical message of Jesus and not get all "churchy"; that you would hunger and relish the message that you can actually have a relationship with the one and only God who will take you as you are and then lead you and guide you in the way you must go. Endure the fire. It’s producing pure gold!