Summary: Are Christians called to be ’pretty’?
“Perhaps My Socks Don’t Match”
I was speaking to a friend of mine who is a campus minister at a college.
He was feeling, perhaps, a bit dejected.
You see there are a lot of Christian groups on the campus of this particular college—and his is the smallest.
Some groups are very large.
So, my friend said to me the other day, “I guess we’re just not pretty enough.”
I’ve spent a bit of time with his small group of college-age Christians, and, ‘pretty or not’ there is some fantastic ministry going on there.
For example, one night, a somewhat unruly young fellow showed up at their gathering.
It is fairly apparent that he has a difficult time relating well to other people.
So he tries to cover it up by saying all kinds of crazy things in order to get some attention.
I was quite impressed by how patient and accepting the other students in this group were to this fellow.
They didn’t make faces to one another behind his back, like so many people do…
…they didn’t treat him differently than the others…
…they didn’t ignore him.
Toward the end of the meeting the poor kid got a nose bleed…
…and I mean it was gushing…
…so he went off to the bathroom to get cleaned up.
And even though the meeting ended before he returned, the students stayed in their spots…
…unwilling to go lest he think “they abandoned him” until he finally came back.
That was cool!
Later my friend confided in me this young man had been part of another ‘Christian’ group on campus, but they had told him that he was not welcome…
…they basically kicked him out!
There’s a story that goes like this:
A public sinner was excommunicated and forbidden to enter the church.
He took his woes to God.
“They won’t let me in, Lord, because I’m a sinner.”
“What are you complaining about?” said God. “They won’t let Me in either.”
So when my buddy, feeling a bit dejected due to the lack of enthusiasm for his group on the campus said to me, “We’re just not pretty enough,” I replied:
“You have a fantastic ministry going on!
I have seen you all in action.
You are doing the work of Christ, and are making a huge difference in people’s lives.
So what if you are not as big as the other Christian groups on campus!
You are doing what Jesus has called you to do and that is all that matters!”
We read from the prophet Isaiah that Jesus Himself was not ‘pretty’ in appearance.
“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”
As author Brennan Manning would probably put it, “God came to this earth and appeared to us as nothing more than a Ragamuffin.”
Or in other words, a regular ‘Joe’.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get feel a bit intimidated or not ‘rich enough’ when I enter some of our more prestigious churches.
I remember one huge Methodist Church in Macon, Georgia that had brand new gold chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, a work-out facility that would put “The Rush” to shame, beautifully ornate oriental rugs, and furniture that I couldn’t even imagine being able to afford to put in my own house.
“What do the truly poor people feel like when they come into a place like this?” I asked myself.
“Will the folks who live meal by meal, in dingy old trailer parks or on the streets feel welcome and at home in this place?”
“Or will they feel even more oppressed and outcaste?”
Look at the folks Jesus hung around with, or the folks who hung around with Him!!!
Matthew Chapter 9 gives us a beautiful picture of God.
It reads: “As Jesus went from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth.
‘Follow me,’ he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and ‘sinners’ came and ate with him and his disciples.”
--Sounds like a real motley crew!!!
Just imagine the scene!
“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 come not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Here is a revelation as bright as the evening star: