Summary: Today we are going to see the importance of relationships in this mission. It is vitally important to establish healthy relationships in your life to assist in serving God. God works through people. God never does anything in the world except what God do
Charlie Brown said it best: "I love mankind, it's people I can’t stand!" ...and we can all relate. Life could be so serene were it not for those pesky relational challenges. Last week we looked at the importance of the simplicity of our lifestyle, because the wrong attachment to money and material possessions can derail us from this mission. Today we are going to see the importance of relationships in this mission. It is vitally important to establish healthy relationships in your life to assist in serving God.
God works through people. God never does anything in the world except what God does through a person. Our Scripture today speaks of a “worthy” person. What does it mean to be worthy? A worthy person is an upstanding person in the community, well respected and of high moral character but that is not the same as a righteous person. A righteous person is a person who is in a right relationship with God, through their relationship with Jesus Christ. A worthy person may not have any relationship with God but they are. Why is it so important be around worthy people? Because who you associate with may well determine who you are but also what others think about you and that can impact your witness and your ministry. In an article written to pastors about how many pastors have lost credibility because of the appearance of immorality, Ed Stetzer tells the story of his doctor prescribing a sleep study as part of some health tests he was doing in preparation for his forthcoming new health regimen. The tech called me to arrange the details. Ed began to ask questions one of which was the setting—in this case, it was an office building with several faux bedrooms where they would wire him up and measure him sleeping. He asked about the staff, and she was "it." Then came that awkward moment. I knew she would not understand it, but he explained, "I can't come if it is just you and me in the building." So he skipped out on the study and had to pay the no-show charge. And then he writes, “I know too many pastors who have lost great credibility because of an accusation (let alone an indiscretion)….I am not irresistible. I have a great face for radio. I do not think that anyone will swoon over me. But I do not know the stability, morality, and disposition of people that I meet…. Guarding yourself takes work, can be awkward, and is often inconvenient. But one problem averted makes it a good stewardship of your life, ministry, and family.” Who you associate with will not only impact you and but may well impact other’s view of you and thus your ministry and your witness.
One of the criticisms of Jesus was that he hung out and ate with sinners. But what we notice in this passage is there are three characteristics about people who may not be in a right relationship with God, i.e. sinner, but that we can associate with. They are worthy people and we are sent to them to be on mission. .” So, some people may not even be aware of Jesus, but they are worthy people and in that sense, they are acting in the character of God. First, they are receptive people. They have this sense that they are responsible for more than themselves. They believe they are in the world to help meet other people’s needs. Look at Matthew 10:40 with me. Jesus said, “Anyone who welcomes you, welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me, welcomes the one who sends me
Second, worthy people are hospitable people. A hospitable person is warm, welcoming and cordial. They give from the heart to others by serving them and their needs. They accept who God sends with a glad heart. They are sociable pleasant, friendly, and likeable. They are kind dealing with those who come our way affectionately, expressing courtesy, displaying decency, and sharing grace, helpfulness and patience. They are genuine sympathetic, tender, and thoughtful. They create a safe-space for people to enter. They are givers not takers. Also, worthy people tend to have boundaries. They respect other people. Zacchaeus was a tax collector. He wasn’t a righteous man, didn’t have a right relationship with God, but he was a worthy man. In Luke 19, when Jesus met him, he was hanging up in a tree because he had heard about Jesus and wanted to see him as Jesus went by. Jesus said, “Zacchaeus, come down because I must stay at your house today.” The reason Zacchaeus was a worthy man was because he jumped down and welcomed Jesus. This is hospitality at its best.
Third, they recognize the “Imago Dei,” the Image of God. Every person has been created in the image of God. I don’t care what their background is, I don’t care if you are gay or straight, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Atheist, agnostic - God created everyone in His image. God is not willing that any should perish, but all come to life. When worthy people see another person, they recognize that “holy other” and thus they see a person of value and worth.