Place for the Unfit
Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners (Mark 2:17).
Downsize Fitness is a health club with a unique niche. It caters only to people who want to lose at least 50 pounds. Tara Lawton, a member of Downsize Fitness, quit her health club because she sensed she didn’t fit in. She said that people always seemed to be silently judging her. Then she found Downsize Fitness and loves it. Downsize is attractive to people like Lawton because it welcomes overweight people and then encourages them as they shed pounds and get healthy. Just as Downsize reaches out to the physically unfit, 2 millennia ago Jesus reached out to the spiritually unfit and used them to spread the good news about the kingdom of God.
One such person was Levi the tax collector. Jesus’ teaching, probably over a period of time, so captured Levi’s heart that he began following Jesus. The fact that Levi was a tax collector made his call to follow Jesus all the more amazing. Tax collectors were usually greedy, dishonest, and immoral (Luke 3:12-13,19:8).
As a Jew, Levi was despised and hated by his fellow citizens because he was a mercenary working for a foreign oppressor. Nobody but Jesus would engage the spiritually unfit like Levi. The religious leaders asked Jesus why He behaved in this way (Mark 2:16). He responded by saying that just as it was natural for a doctor to associate with sick people, so it was natural for Him to call and heal the spiritually unfit (Mark 2:17). The whole purpose of Jesus’ coming was so that the spiritually unfit (those dead in their sin) could receive a change of heart and life.
Do those we deem spiritually unfit find a place in our churches today? The church was established to welcome self-confessed sinners—love them, and walk with them as they follow Jesus and grow in Him.
Read Acts 9:10-19 and see the story of how one man welcomed someone who was deemed spiritually unfit.
How will you practically embody the mission of Jesus to the spiritually unfit? How can you help your church to become a more welcoming place?