When I look back over our years of ministry sometimes I feel like I’m leading a band of Misfit Toys. I have endured the annoying people that others shun, and I am repaid with their undying loyalty and faithfulness. OK, that’s just a nice way of saying that they cling to me.
As much as I would love to shed my “shadow” sometimes, I DO have great compassion for the Misfits, so I continue to tolerate them with as much kindness as I can muster. I whole-heartedly believe that everyone has a place and a purpose, no matter how annoying they may be to me personally. As a church, we often attract the social outcasts and the awkward people that are rejected by society. They come, drawn by an attraction to the acceptance and tolerance of Jesus. Sometimes they are disappointed in what they find in US though. I know the Church has often been accused of intolerance in the extreme, but that is just the opposite of what we SHOULD be. We fall short. If ANYONE should be tolerant, it should be God’s people.
Look at the motley crew that followed Jesus around 24/7 during the 3 years of his ministry on earth. He did not surround himself with big name, super star preachers. He did not seek out the connections that would lead to juicy name dropping later. He did not cultivate connections in high places. No, he had the sick, the unclean, the tax collectors, the adulterers, the demon possessed, the uneducated, the weak, and the indiscreet following him around. They were attracted to him.
So if you will be like Jesus, take note of the company you are keeping. Are the Misfit Toys attracted to your kindness and acceptance? Does your compassion for the awkward people lead you to great tolerance? Are you known for your patience with people? If you would be like Jesus, you will find yourself in the company of the outcasts. Are you ready for that kind of notoriety?
“It is not the heathy that need a doctor- it is the sick,” said Jesus.