As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector's booth; and He said to him, 'Follow Me!' And he got up and followed Him.
Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, 'Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?'
But when Jesus heard this, He said, 'It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.'
When I was growing up, Christianity seemed like a snobby social club. Because of parental connections, I was invited to join. But the Spirit was missing, the Destination unclear and the Way was lost to me.
Instead, I found hikers in heals, men making deals, half-hearted kneels and worldly appeals. New members were carefully screened. If they were judged as the wrong type, they got the last pew or the boot.
Actors, models and talent for Christ, consider three questions: 1) Do American Christians look like self-righteous, self-serving hypocrites? 2) Do our rules, walls and denominations reflect the purposes of Christ? 3) What's the best way you can welcome outsiders to join the trail of Jesus?
Now consider three answers:
1) As trailblazers, look different than the American church.* Humble yourselves by serving others. Dress for success but keep it simple. Walk God's walk before you talk God's talk. Face and embrace the desperate poor.
2) Abandon divisive religion, because Jesus prayed for unity.** 'That they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me' (John 17:22-23).
3) Welcome new hikers with a big smile, good news and open arms. Invite them to an assembly of saints that loves without partiality and practices faith without judgment. When you welcome them, you welcome Him.
To Be Continued...
* Previous 2-part AMTC Devotion series, Outsiders Looking In: http://amtcdevotions.org/outsiders-looking-in-part-1
* Previous AMTC Devotion series on The Church, specifically denominations: http://amtcdevotions.org/the-church-part-7-denominations
** Jesus' final Prayer for His disciples and all following believers in John 17:6-26: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+17%3A6-26&version=NKJV
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Trailblazers series.