Am in Naivasha (my favorite place in the whole world) on retreat with the Mavuno staff team (best staff team in the whole world)! Our objective is to connect on our vision, values and goals for the year as well and to invest in the relationships that will carry us through it. One of my strong beliefs is that we spend so many of our best hours with our workmates that it would be tragic to work with people we don’t enjoy! I’m amazed when I reflect on how God has grown us as a team and some of the incredible moments we’ve shared together. I look forward to some great times this week.
We kicked our new series at Mavuno ‘Happily Ever After’ last Sunday. We’re looking at marriage from the bible’s point of view. From the great response, it’s clearly a live subject for this generation. I look forward to seeing God @ work during the rest of the series.
Meanwhile, I’m enjoying the New Testament read-thru. This week we’ll finish the book of Matthew and start on Mark, which is definitely my favorite eye-witness account of Jesus’ life. Matthew aka Levi, was a former tax-collector who gave it all up to follow Jesus (Matthew 9:9). Back in the day, tax-collectors were not very popular (some things never change!) and were reviled for their corruption.
Matthew was so amazed that Jesus would accept a person like him that he asked him for dinner and invited all his buddies – referred to as ‘disreputable characters’ or ‘notorious sinners’ depending on which version you’re reading! The religious leaders of the day were scandalized that Jesus would socialize with such people. Jesus’ reply to them was characteristically no-nonsense…
“Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’ I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders”. Or as another version puts it, “I’ve come to call sinners, not those who already think they are good enough”.
Walala! How affirming for Matthew and people like him through the ages, who came to Jesus knowing they had ‘issues’ that desperately needed fixing! And how uncomfortable for us Christians when we think we have our act together, and work hard not to ‘contaminate’ ourselves by hanging out with ‘sinners’!
I like this quote; ‘the church is a hospital for sinners, not a hotel for saints.’