If I were to ask you to write out who you are, what would you say? We’re given this opportunity often times in social media formats in the “Bio” section of our profiles. I always feel kind of cheap when I try to put into words those things that bring the most joy and value in my life.
For instance, when I say that I am, first and foremost, a Christ-follower, you have no idea how much my heart yearns to see Jesus, to sit as His feet and worship Him. When I say I am a wife to Danny, you have no idea how my heart flutters when he’s around or what we’ve been through and worked on in almost 10 years of marriage. When I tell you that I’m a mommy to 2 gorgeous, talented, amazing girls, you have no idea the tears I’ve cried over them, the prayers I’ve prayed for their salvation, the shifting hormones that have led to some of the darkest times in my life, or the heart-exploding joy they’ve given me.
Or how about when I say that I’m a worship pastor at Hope Fellowship? For some, when they read this “title,” the first thing they do is re-check the name at the top of the page. “What? She’s a worship pastor.” Immediately, my value is summed up into those 2 words. For some, it is offensive that I, as a female, would be labeled as such. For others, there is higher esteem. Regardless, I don’t think Jesus placed so much value on one’s title.
In the eyes of Jesus, we are all the same. Pastor Mark has done a couple sermons now where the illustration is that: “We’re all just black hats, and then there’s Jesus”. We’re all in the same boat. The guy I was fortunate enough to speak with a few weeks ago who is addicted to alcohol, HIV positive, and likely homeless is of no less value than you or I to the kingdom of God. As a matter of fact, this is what Jesus says about the matter in Luke 15:
All the tax collectors and sinners were approaching to listen to Him. And the Pharisees and scribes were complaining, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them!’ So He told them this parable: ‘What man among you, who has 100 sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the 99 in the open field and go after the lost one until he finds it? When he has found it, he joyfully puts in on his shoulders, and coming home, he calls his friends and neighbors together, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my lost sheep!’ I tell you, in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous people who don’t need repentance.’
The Pharisees and scribes were quick to attribute lesser value to “sinners” and were, therefore, elevating themselves to a place higher than the foul, evil, repugnant sinners. Blinded by their own stench, the Pharisees could not see that, they too, were lost sheep in need of a Savior. Romans 12:3 says it so well:
For by the grace give to me, I tell everyone of you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one.
Over the last 3 years that I’ve been the worship pastor at Hope, one of my greatest goals for our band, tech crew, and creative team has been that they be accessible and approachable…that they would not think of themselves more highly than they should. It’s in our Values and Expectations statement and is reinforced consistently at rehearsals. People with the stench of the devil himself should be able to come to us and allow us to minister and pray for/with them. Ultimately, that is our job. That is our vision and focus. The music is just the avenue God uses to help us get into people’s lives.
So I would challenge you this week to get out there. Serve those who stink. And you know I’m not talking about a physical stench necessarily. As I’ve written about before, we all have a fragrance. Why don’t you use yours to permeate others around you with the love of Christ?