“The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.’” (Luke 15:1-2)
Last summer I had the privilege of chaperoning our youth group on a mission trip to Thunder Bay, Canada. We were given our assignments for the next three days, and I was pleasantly surprised and relieved to see I would be working in a soup kitchen. I felt pretty comfortable with this as I had worked in soup kitchens before, and I assumed this would be the same as the other places I had served in.
We arrived at Grace Place and were welcomed by staff. The first person we encountered was Danny, a man with long curly hair, tattoos to numerous to count, clothes that were outdated and shoes that were worn and needed to be replaced. He was the man in charge for the week as the pastors who ran Grace Place were on a much-needed vacation.
My initial thought was, "Oh my goodness, how can this man be in charge?" As we were buttering bread, Danny shared his story of how Jesus had pursued him and saved him from a life of drugs and alcohol. Danny is now the hands and feet of Jesus helping to save lost sheep. Over the three days more than 900 people were served not only a meal, but also they were shown grace, love and compassion by Danny and the staff just as Jesus would have done.
The angels are rejoicing as they see Danny and the Grace Place staff welcome the lost and celebrate with the saved sinners. God never ceases to amaze me in the life lessons He has in store for us.
Casting Crowns has a song that reminds me to love the lost and rejoice over one saved sinner just a Jesus would. I hope you'll look up, "Jesus, Friend of Sinners."