“What are we here for, to have a good time with Christians or to save sinners?”
-Malla Moe (1863-1953)
I do not know a lot about the life of Malla Moe but I do know that her blunt personality made her speaking unwelcome in many traditional churches of the time and she had a wagon that she drove around Africa feeding the poor when she was sixty-five. It was pretty obvious by her famous quote that she wanted to live to see those far from God come in contact with the grace of the gospel. Her priority was the sinner.
The church is established for the purpose of gathering those who follow Jesus to worship, encourage one another, hear from God through his Word, get direction in life, be mobilized to spread his glory and much more. Yet when Christians look at their life, how much of it is filled with a community of those who are already saved? How much of it is in an active pursuit to reach those who do not know the mercy of God? Take a look at your calendar and see how much time you spend being a light among the darkness.
Jesus was very clear that he came for those who were sick:
“And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.’”
Many Christians are uncomfortable with a Jesus who “reclines” with sinners. The Pharisees were very uncomfortable and upset that a scribe would be around such people in Jesus’ leisure. Jesus makes his purpose clear to the ritually religious. The Great Physician came for the sick, not the well.
I know of a young lady in our church whose passion for becoming a nurse was so she could help those who were sick. She wanted to share compassion and healing to those in pain. Yet how many of us are passionate about seeing the sick experience the healing power of God? Could it be that many of us (mainly pointing at myself here) want to enjoy the company of Christians like ourselves over reclining with those who need to encounter God? If we spend our time around those who are well, how will we ever see the sick healed?
K.P. Yohannan states soberly,
“A tiny group of believers who have the gospel keep mumbling it over and over to themselves. Meanwhile, millions who have never heard it once fall into the flames of eternal hell without ever hearing the salvation story.”
Too many of us are that tiny group. Our small groups and Sunday Schools stay small and we repeat God’s Word over and over to our little groups and never think of anyone who needs the gospel. We forget that half of Jones County is not in church on Sunday Morning. We forget that there are millions of people on this planet who will live and die without someone telling them about Jesus and we could be doing something about it. But to often we are spending too much time enjoying the company of our healthy brothers and sisters in Christ.
Oh God how easy it is to not be like Jesus! To convince ourselves to put up walls from the darkness of the world and hide the light you have given us. God help us live to see lives changed by helping them encounter Jesus. Help us live to see the sick healed and not a luxurious life spent with those who are well.
Caleb Rawls is the pastor at Pleasant Home Baptist Church located in Laurel Mississippi. He and his wife Taylor work to lead the church grow in their relationship with Jesus and help others encounter the grace of Jesus. They also have a golden-doodle named Tiglath-Pilesar IIII.