“While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matthew 9:10–13).
In Southeast Asia, a pastor took my team up onto the very top of an enormous building in the middle of the city. He told us to look out across the city. We could see endless roads filled with traveling vehicles and motorbikes. We could see the gigantic bridge that stretched from our island to the next island over, where many are unreached and have never heard of the gospel. We could see building after building. There had to be millions in that city, millions who did not know that there was a God who would take them as they are.
He wants all of us as we are. We come, as we are, before Him, having nothing to offer Him but “a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart” (Psalm 51:17).
When I returned to the States, I wasn’t coming home to a place that had it all together. I was coming home to more brokenness around me, to a place filled with people who thought they had it all together.
It became clear to me throughout my adventure overseas, and then in my life at home, that my job was to love others where they were at. For such a long time I wanted to come to Jesus with something, anything, but I realized I had nothing to bring; nothing to give but a broken and sinful heart.
And I wasn’t the only one. I’m ashamed to say there were times I looked at my friends and people I met and thought, “They definitely need to fix that before they can come to Jesus, or even have a relationship with Him.” But who was I to make that verdict? I am just like them. In desperate need of grace, in desperate need of a Savior.
Since that time away, God has graciously given me the ability to love my friends where they are at. To share with them of the love of the Savior where they are at. To remind them that they don’t have to have everything together before they come before the Holy One. They can come before Him with all their mess and chaos and just lay it down at His feet.
The most powerful and beautiful thing about His grace is that although we don’t deserve it, we have the ability to receive it; not because of our works, but because of His work on the cross. Because of Him, there is a way to the Father. And because of grace, we can say, “Look, God, I’m not even worthy to come before you and I have nothing to offer — but I know and trust that your grace is sufficient.”