If you’ve ever belonged to a local congregation, you’ve probably experienced the baptism or dedication of a little cutie that steals everyone’s heart. If I recall correctly, the little sweetheart pictured with me here is named Evelyn Elizabeth.
As you can see, she wasn’t too sure about me. My bet is, however, that everyone there that day was sure about her. They don’t come any cuter, and we were all positive that she was as adorable as could be.
We’re all drawn to cuteness, adorability, beauty, and good looks. We’re drawn to happy personalities, generous types, and positive celebrity. If someone’s got it, they’ve got it. They’ve also got us…probably.
The church is no different in that respect. We’re drawn to the attractive, the personable, and the well to do. We like the talented, the gifted, and the effervescent. Of course, we’re simply following in Jesus’ footsteps in that area…NOT!
The Last, the Lost, and the Least
I remember learning in seminary (too many years ago too mention) that the Gospel of Luke is known as the gospel of the last, the lost, and the least. It’s known as that because those were the types of folks Luke focused on as he retold the stories of Jesus’ ministry.
Jesus didn’t seem to hang out with the pretty boys, the luminaries, or the coolest of the cool. It’s not that he ignored them—he loved them too. But he went where he was needed the most. He was reviled because he often wound up with prostitutes, unclean sinners, and all around losers.
For some reason, many of us love to be surrounded by winners. I guess it makes us feel important. I’m no different. I can name drop with the best of them. The bigger the star power, the better we feel.
Hanging Out With Jesus
Yet the reality of the situation is that merely knowing or hanging out with the big boys doesn’t make us any better. For some reason, hanging out with the downtrodden does.
I loved having my picture taken with Evelyn that day (even if she wasn’t totally into it). Holding her made me very popular—for a minute. But there are a lot of Elizabeth’s out there that aren’t as cute, or as clean, or as lovable. They end up being abused, in prison, hungry, or in a bucket to be sold for parts.
What part of society do you totally avoid? Those might be the very ones Jesus is hanging out with today as he calls you to join him. It’s an uncomfortable thought. But if we’re actually going to be the church—I mean REALLY be the church—it’s a thought we need to seriously consider.
If that’s where Jesus is, it might be where we need to be as well.