Mark 2:14-17 (AMP)
14And as He was passing by, He saw Levi (Matthew) son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, Follow Me! [Be joined to Me as a disciple, side with My party!] And he arose and joined Him as His disciple and sided with His party and accompanied Him. 15And as Jesus, together with His disciples, sat at table in his [Levi’s] house, many tax collectors and persons [definitely stained] with sin were dining with Him, for there were many who walked the same road (followed) with Him. 16And the scribes [belonging to the party] of the Pharisees, when they saw that He was eating with [those definitely known to be especially wicked] sinners and tax collectors, said to His disciples, Why does He eat and drink with tax collectors and [notorious] sinners? 17And when Jesus heard it, He said to them, Those who are strong and well have no need of a physician, but those who are weak and sick; I came not to call the righteous ones to repentance, but sinners (the erring ones and all those not free from sin).
We see Jesus partaking with the wicked; eating and drinking. What was He doing hanging out with these people?
He wasn’t on Earth to mingle with those who had already accepted the Gospel and were following Him to do God’s work. He had a mission to talk and teach those who were spiritually ill and needed healing in their lives.
How do we reach out to those outside of our four walls who are hurting and needing encouragement and help? Jesus knew the essence of befriending and building a common ground before giving them the “thou” and “shall.”
There will be some who are ready to get to the meat of the Gospel and others who have to build a common ground before they will open up to you. If you look at it, we are like “counselors” finding the best approach to reach out to people. It is truly a gift that is bestowed by the Holy Spirit.
It’s a matter of life and death for some. Why? If we don’t have the gift to teach, we could destroy any hope for reaching to an individual without the proper gear. Jesus knew his Words inside and out. He was equipped to sit down with the worst in the crowd and not be tainted by their views. He was strong in every aspect. He was tempted just as we are, but He knew how to fight back those temptations.
We have to do the same when reaching out to those who need the Gospel spoken in their spirit; be equipped and ready. I recall being in a church and when I was leaving, I saw a sign that said, “Entering the battlefield.” I pondered on those words and thought it was an accurate statement.
We are in the world and not of the world; as we enter into the world every day, it is a battlefield. Dealing with others and fighting the influences around us. For those who have children, look at the peer pressures they deal with on a daily basis as they mingle with other classmates, friends, and church buddies. Are we teaching them the ways of the Lord to prepare them for the battlefield that may be two feet from them?
We, also, need to be careful of the battlefields we carry in our minds as well. Sometimes, we are more danger to ourselves than others are to us. At times, we could be our own worst enemies.
What are we doing to build up the fence of protection around our families, but to be transparent enough to be able to eat and drink with those we intend to minister and influence? We can’t be confined in our own little world and not affect society. God didn’t call us out for that. He called us out for greatness. What capacity has He called you out for?