Recently I was listening to an audio book that highlighted a believer in Christ who fully immersed himself within the gang community in Los Angeles. There have been many points that have stuck with me but I’d like to point out a few.
This author, known as “G”, decided to immerse himself in a community that was known as being outcast. The individuals in the community lived day after day without hope. They assumed that their lives were always going to revolve around pain, suffering, and the struggle for survival. However, this author saw something different in them. He felt a calling to live alongside them and learn to understand them while sharing the gospel. His hopes were to show them the love of God and an alternate path to life.
What is particularly interesting, is that this individual didn’t decided to only help them part time. He didn’t decide to only preach to them on Sundays. He decided to fully immerse himself with the outcast. The sinners. This is what Jesus does with us. He invests in us 100%. He is patient and gracious throughout our journey.
“G” mentions that we as individuals get so focused on outcomes or immediate solutions. This helps us gauge our success and determine how good we are doing as a body of Christ. However, how often don’t we quit on people because it’s simply to exhausting to try and help. Or how often haven’t others quit on us because we’re hard headed. According to “G”, we should focus on the slow work of God and not on the immediate success. True success is seeing someone move through their faith journey with all the ups and downs. True friends stand alongside you to help you and pick you up. True friends, encourage and hold you accountable. More importantly, true friendship shows compassion and love.
That is what Jesus does with us. Besides fully immersing himself in our lives, He is patient with us and is present throughout our journey.
There was a scripture that was highlighted during my reading. Luke 5:17-26.
In this scripture, some men broke through the roof of this place where Jesus was teaching and they helped lower a man who was unable to move his body. During this time, there were religious law keepers and teachers who were sitting with Jesus. The men that broke through the roof were not of righteous standards according to these religious groups. They were considered to be outcast. Jesus proceeds to forgive him for his sins. This is an immediate invitation to salvation. To a life worth living. A life deemed worthy of acceptance. That again is a true picture of what Jesus does with us. He forgives us so we can go from Outcast to adopted children of God.
Regardless of your past rejections, know that this world and the things or people in it, can only give you temporal relief. Our true hope is in Him who is with us during our times of struggle. He’s there when we are alone and feel abandoned. In fact, in the end, He’s the only One we can count on being there. Therefore, as we go out an about our lives, let’s invest in others. Let’s be patient with them and know that we have a calling. That calling is to make disciples of all nations. Making disciples takes time. It takes patience. It takes Love.
In the closing chapter, “G” makes a statement. He said that he would rather stand with the outcast until they become accepted or until he is crucified for them. Whatever comes first. WOW. What a powerful statement. To know that he would stand with the forgotten because those are who Jesus came to call. Because Jesus also stood by the outcast and ultimately paid the price for you and me.
Brothers and sisters in Christ. May we stand with the lost. Guide them and love them. Disciple them and show them the teachings of our Savior.
Luke 5:17-26 English Standard Version (ESV)
Jesus Heals a Paralytic
17 On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal.[a] 18 And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, 19 but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. 20 And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” 21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 22 When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” 25 And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. 26 And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”Matthew 28:19 English Standard Version (ESV)