Jesus had been with the crowd, but apparently the crowd wasn’t enough. Something else was tugging on His Divine nature, and He left the crowd to meet one. He seeks to find the one that we want to forget. The one with the issues. The one struggling. The one that leans back and forth, sitting in silence.
Many of us look at that guy or that lady who’s got on five sweaters in the summer, and we laugh and we judge. Well we don’t know that she was abused for years as a little girl. We don’t know that she went from house to house and she was beaten and abused. You don’t know how much strength it took for her to even walk into your building. And instead of judging what she’s not, try to see her through the lens of the blood of Jesus and declare what she shall be.
Where a person is is not where they’re going to end up. You don’t have the right to end somebody’s story. You can read their story, but you can’t write their story, because you are not the Author or the Finisher of their faith. Read it while God develops them. Read it while God delivers them. Read it while God heals them. And watch the happy ending. Watch when God gets the glory.
My mom and dad divorced when Iwas four years old. I’ve battled through processing what happened to me at four and a half years old and; an incident of sexual abuse -not at the hands of a family member- as the enemy tried to rip and shred away at my dignity and my manhood. But thanks to my mother who had been served God and was praying the whole time, by the time i was seven, I had walked down to an altar and given my heart to Jesus, and I’ve served Him ever since. Everything the enemy had planned for my destruction has failed. And today I get to speak to thousands about my Savior.
I am the “suddenly” of God. When Jesus was baptized, the Bible tells us that suddenly God spoke from heaven, “That’s my son.” Let me tell you pastors and leaders and church planters: God is about to release the “suddenly” anointing on you. People don’t know who you are, but suddenly God is going to give you a platform. Suddenly, God is going to release you to be everything that you were called to be. You are not in competition with anyone else. You’re in concert with everyone else. You are not here to try to figure out who is doing what. Be faithful in what God has given you, because you’re called to reach somebody I could never reach. And the best part is, God is going to get the glory out of all of it.
Worshippers hide in broken places. The demon possessed man in our story lived in the mountains and the tombs. He battled through depression – what we would clinically describe as mental illness. But Jesus said, “I don’t care how broken you are. I’ve got blood enough for that. I’ve got grace enough for that.” Jesus cast out two thousand demons from one man, sending them to the pigs. (I still don’t understand why he sent them into the pigs, killing so much bacon. Why couldn’t He have cast them into some hummus?)
We’re quick to look for the people that are already processed, but the power that we carry actually is to walk people through the process.
Finally, after he realized that the had been delivered, he said, “Jesus, I want to go with you.” Jesus said, “No, my friend, go home. Go home to your family, to your friends. Tell them what great things the Lord has done for you.” Too many times, we think we need to go all over the place and plant a church somewhere else. But I think sometimes Jesus is telling us to just go home. If you want to see a miracle, try letting people see God develop you over time.
Where do worshippers hide? Right around the corner from your church. Where do they hide? The coffee shop, the grocery store, right where you live. Church isn’t about the crowd. It’s about the one. Go win the one, and then the next one. And before you know it, you’re gonna walk in the place of biblical relevance that Jesus walked. The crowds are great, but I’m going after the one in the tombs.
Father, give us a heart for the hidden worshippers. The broken ones, the lost ones, the ones that society says are unworthy. Give us a heart for them that we may serve them with all due diligence and do whatever it takes to win them to the Kingdom. In the name of the only One that matters, Jesus Christ.
September 21 2014