PASTORS' DAILY DEVOTIONAL
The UntouchablesJohn Tilton
Luke 19:1-7 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him,“Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”
Jesus calls attention to the tendency for Christians at times to pass judgement on those that may seem to be untouchables who because of their needs, their lifestyle, their perceived sin or ways of the world; are casted out or excluded in spite of the church and its people being the one that God has called to minister to the needy. When I use the word untouchables, we think of perhaps those that are grossly non-conforming to society such as criminals, homeless, mentally ill, etc. However, how often do we ostracize, disassociate or cast out people because of their past or challenges that they are going through. The people's feelings toward the tax collector represented their disdain of what he represented that brought consternation to their lives, thereby judging him and calliing him a sinner.
In our small group, we discussed a situation where people ostracized a person because of that person's past, assuming that that person cannot change, in spite of the person attending a church, a life group and being mentored. Fortunately, we were able to identify what was transpiring and reach ou to that person and bring encouragement so that that person see's God's love through us rather then judgement. Like Jesus, we are often called to minister to the needy and who some deem as untouchables.
Dear Lord, thank you for reminding me of letting judgement be yours and not allowing myself ever to be influenced by people's past or what others think of others to cause me to onstracize or exclude people who are seeking God, in spite of their position or past. May you guide me to love people because you love them.