We don’t know what Jesus looked like. I suppose most of us have some kind of image of him tucked away in our mind, but we really do not know. Now think of this … except in a few, mostly implied, situations, we don’t even know what anyone he interacted with looked like either. they may have been:
But, whatever their appearance, Jesus had time for them all! He called them to Himself. He encouraged them to follow. He touched them, and spoke to them. The outside really doesn’t seem to be important as to whether Jesus had time for them or not.
But how often have we focused on looks or possessions as a standard for greatness and importance. For years as a youth pastor I watched kids make immature choices based on those unimportant things. Sadly, I’ve watched adults do the same. Worse, I’ve done it myself! Sometimes we make it about personality or life skills (ministry skill in the church?), but it would appear that Jesus was not too concerned about any of those things either. Again, except in a few cases we just don’t know much about the people with whom he interacted.
Actress Gwenyth Paltrow wore a “fat suit” for her movie Shallow Hal. She apparently wore it to a mall one afternoon and found people avoiding her and averting their eyes. She was quite shocked at how many people were put off by her appearance and said something to the effect that “it shouldn’t be like that.”
I wonder how often we in the church find ourselves deciding about relationships based on externals. Jesus had time for all and seemed quite willing to use even the weak and the “inept” – while he encouraged them to grow. His workers did not have to be richest, or the best looking or have everything together. He sent them on missions when they were not expert. They just had to be willing to follow – whether they had much or little, whether they were overweight or crippled, even if they were just average, Jesus engaged them, used them, loved them. I’ve often heard in ministry circles something like “this guy’s really sharp, someone should use him,” or, “that woman is really successful and strong, she should …. “
The late Mike Yaconelli once said that
“The power of the Church is not in its super-preachers, or its mega-structures, or its large institutions. The power of the Church is in its individual people whose sacrifices throughout everyday life have an authority no expert can match”
I guess what I am very randomly musing on today is that the power of the church is in the ordinary…not the extraordinary. And maybe if we figured that out we could all be a bit more real, put on a pose less often, and love more broadly.
“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-29, ESV)