Pastor Andrew Vickery
Love Others Even If You Don't Think They Are Worthy
As a Marketplace Pastor (that's the hip, new way of saying I'm bi-vocational), I get to have some pretty neat conversations about faith while working at my other career. One in particular that I remember distinctly comes from a lady who told me she was at a liquor store purchasing some mini-bottles for a bachelorette party. Somehow, she engaged in a conversation about different types of liquor with the gentleman who was working at the store, who evidently really loves his spirits. The man made the statement that he's "never met a liquor he didn't like." My coworker's reply was that she'd met plenty of liquors she didn't like but doughnuts were a different story. The man laughed and then made a comment that I don't think was meant to come across the way it did.
He said, "There's no better feeling in the world than a liquor high." Thankfully my coworker didn't let that one go. "You're going to have to stand corrected there," she said. "There's no better feeling in the world than knowing you're going to spend eternity in Heaven with Jesus."
I'm sure at this point he gawked at the mini-bottles she'd placed on the counter and then back at her in amazement. I'm sure if her Sunday school class saw her coming out of the liquor store, she might be the subject of the group's gossip for the foreseeable future. But Jesus himself dealt with much of the same judgmental ogling.
"I tell you, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John. Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of God is greater than he is!" When they heard this, all the people--even the tax collectors--agreed that God's way was right, for they had been baptized by John. But the Pharisees and experts in religious law rejected God's plan for them, for they had refused John's baptism. "To what can I compare the people of this generation?" Jesus asked. "How can I describe them? They are like children playing a game in the public square. The complain to their friends, 'We played wedding songs, and you didn't dance, so we played funeral songs, and you didn't weep.' For John the Baptist didn't spend his time eating bread or drinking wine, and you say, 'He's possessed by a demon.' The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, 'He's a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!' But wisdom is shown to be right by the lives of those who follow it." Luke 7:28-35 NLT
"Jesus was called a drunk!" I reminded my coworker. If He were with us today, He would be in there talking to that gentleman as well...and the church people would be across the street just shaking their heads. Let us remember that we are called to be "in the world" but not "of the world.' We are called to Jews and Gentiles alike. We are called to be a beacon of hope to the lost, the broken, the marginalized, and the prodigal. What a freedom we have to simply love others without worrying about whether or not they are worthy! Praise be to God!