@robertkwendt || lead pastor
Have you ever played the lotto? I find it hilarious how after weeks without a winner, as the pot gets bigger and bigger until it becomes one of the largest ever, seemingly everyone goes out and plays the lotto with the hopes of winning it big.
The poor play, hoping to have a winfall.
The rich play, hoping to get richer.
Now here's the real question...who would you rather see win? My gut tells me that you most would hope for the person with very little to be the big winner.
jesus loved greedy people.
There were people in Jesus' time who were called "tax collectors." In his context, they were Jews who carried out the duties of collecting taxes for Rome. However, they not only collected what the government in Rome needed, but they would collect more than was due for themselves. They took advantage of their own people. And so because of this, they were treated as traitors. Often in the Bible, tax collectors are combined with "sinners"—non-Jews. (hence they were not equally recognized by their own people).
Yet Jesus loved the tax collectors. He called one to be his disciple (follower). He even called the chief tax collector (head of all of them) out of the crowd (see Mark 2:13-17, Luke 19:1-10).
we all have a love deficit.
We can chase all the money in the world, and yet in the end we'll still be chasing. That's why both the rich and the poor play the lotto.
However, this is not a new revelation, but it's something that comes from the wisdom of the Bible even before Jesus walked the earth.
"Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness." Ecclesiastes 5:10 NLT
Jesus recognized something that the religious elite around him didn't. The tax collectors weren't only alone, but they had a love deficit. So what did he do in response?
Jesus loved them.
In the story of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10), we see that Jesus went as far as calling out Zacchaeus from the crowd. In response, the people "grumbled."
I imagine them pointing and whispering to one another: "Seriously!?" "Why him?" "He's horribly greedy!" Jesus recognized his love deficit. So he showed everyone what love looks like.
|| challenge ||
So how do we respond? What do we do?
We show love.
We love people of all stories and backgrounds. We love those who even seem to have betrayed us. Why? Because this is how we live out the example of Jesus.
Go out this week and sacrificially love someone. Serve and love them even, if it seems like they don't need it or deserve it.