Summary: Many religious people see others as "High Maintenance" and not see their potential.
Do you see this woman?
Illustration: Grace Llewelyn Smith tombstone, no date of death or a date of birth just the names of her two husbands and this epitaph.
“Sleeps but rests not, Loved but was not loved, tried to please but pleased not, died as she lived—alone.”
Long nights, empty beds, silence, messages left but no response, no return to letters written, no love exchanged for love given. Typical response to “I love you” would be “uh huh”
Tried to please but pleased not…. Words hurt harder than actions, “How many times do I have to tell you” “You will never amount to anything” “why can’t you do anything right?” “There you go again” or “Why can’t you be like . . .?”
How many people like Grace Smith are there out there? Maybe too many
Look at our story. Imagine the crowd at the party
“What is that woman doing here?
Who let her in?
We see that in Simon’s reaction but we also see that in the church too.
Look who just walked in?
What are they doing here?
Wonder why the preacher is talking to them?
If he were really righteous he wouldn’t associate with them.
Don’t those elders know bad company corrupts good morals?
Maybe not that judgmental maybe more like
“If he or she knew what a good spouse is they wouldn’t be so lonely now”
Just as cutting
Jesus tells a story to make a point
(Story of woman in ER who attempted suicide, first mission as a hospital chaplain)
Her name was Susan, she was an outcast. When I met her at the ER she had attempted suicide twice in the past 24 hrs. The doctor was doing his interview of her while I sat and watched. She was nervous, twitching and fidgeting as she answered his questions. While this was going on I was praying. My prayer was simple, why am I here Lord. He answered me just as Jesus answered Simon, “Do you see this woman?” I then looked and saw a woman, outcast, unloved, desperate, alone, hurting, and despairing. I also noticed she was clutching a chain around her neck. When she opened her hand she showed she was clutching a cross. When the doctor finished, I asked if I could stay for a few minutes. The doctor agreed and stopped the police from coming in. I asked her for her name, she told me. I said you must feel very alone right now, she said yes, she cried about how she felt alone, scared, unloved. I asked her if she believed in Jesus, she said yes, but she felt even He could not forgive now. I shared this same passage with her, and assured her that He does forgive. We prayed she asked God to forgive her, I noticed as we prayed her twitching and trembling stopped. She had peace, the kind only Jesus can give. She needed to go to a place where she could find Him, that place was in prayer.
He told Simon, a Pharisee, a teacher of Israel, probably one of Israel’s most beloved “righteous” dudes what this sinful woman already knew.
Many of us hear this story and say, “That’s touching” but not of me. I am loved, appreciated, cared for, and needed so what does this mean for me? It means some are not, Jesus says “whatever you do for the least of these my brothers, you do for me.” The ones that this story might apply to might never visit this place for some of the same reasons this woman goes to Simon’s party only when they know that Jesus is there.
Dave Wilkerson goes to one of NY’s most dangerous and desperate areas. As a result he reaches a young hoodlum named Nicky Cruz, as a result churches in the area become flooded with leather jackets, gang colors, and the like. These members of gangs become members of God’s gang
There is a woman named Joy who ministers to under privileged children in an inner city mission. She had a very timid little girl, she was in and out of trouble all the time, her name was Barbara. One day Joy was teaching about heaven, Barbara raised her hand and asked “Is heaven for girls like me?” Hers, like the woman I met in ER, was a prayer, an earnest prayer of a forgotten soul where the grace of God seeps through the cracks and covers one the “church” may have let slip through. A life only God can use and use it like no one else can. To do what he does best, take the common and make it spectacular, the ordinary and make it magnificent.
What is a basketball in your hands worth? About 15 dollars, a basketball in the hands of Michael Jordan is maybe worth a million or more. Depends on whose hands it is in. A baseball bat in your hands is worth maybe 20 dollars, a baseball bat in the hands of Mark McQwire maybe worth 2-3 million, depends on whose hands its in. He took and ordinary stick and parted the Red Sea, a simple pebble and kills a giant, ordinary water and make it into sparkling wine, a little boys’ lunch and turns it into a banquet for thousands. An outcast woman and make her a missionary to a pompous Pharisee. A demon possessed man and he turns him into an evangelist for an entire community. HE took 12 ordinary men, unschooled, unlearned smelly fishermen and turns the world upside down, 3 spikes and a worthless beam of wood and turn it into hope for the world He can take you and use whatever you are and whatever you are willing to give him for whatever he needs it for.
Will you let him?