In a strategic recruiting meeting at a university, they listed the quality of students desired by that institution: A and B level students, or students who are exceptional in science, arts, and sports. By the way, this is the expectation of most educational institutions. My question then was, who caters for the C or lower student, or the unremarkable ones? The response: the students we target have the potential to generate $100 thousand per year.
In another experience, I read the growth and strategic plan that a new church drafted. Everything was about what the church needed to grow, and nothing about what was important for people who needed growth. As I read, I took note of their target population; the median salary expectation was 80 thousand per household, the target area was middle to upper middle-class suburban. And get this, their target as members: people who were already Christians. I may be simple minded, but I thought that the focus of schools was to educate the uneducated; not educate the educated. And I thought that the church’s priority was find the lost, not the found. Jesus has a different agenda.
God’s Kingdom here starts with the broke and broken first.
The first shall be last and the last first (Matt. 20: 16). He is looking for servants, not kings. In what we see as Jesus’ inaugural speech, He stated, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free … (Luke 4:18).
It means therefore, if you are not broke or broken, if you were not marginalized or deserted, you may need to take a backseat in God’s kingdom. The above scripture begins with the Spirit anointing Jesus for ministry. In the first case the spirit authorizes Jesus’ mission, and the goals of that mission does not start with middle class, nor the wealthy, nor the influential, not the powerful or educated.
If a king is setting up his kingdom here on earth, I would think that the expectation is he would select the ‘best’ people first. It you were looking for a group of people to build a thriving company, you start with the most professionally qualified – but that’s not Jesus. If you are looking for some morally responsible people to start a church, you would go for those who read their bible the most, attended more church service, or those in good and regular standing – but that is not Jesus. If you were building an Olympic team, your first stop would be the schools and colleges with the strongest, fastest, and healthiest young people – but that is not Jesus. If He were here in our current day, he would go to the hospital first. The spirit of God gives him a list of people that not one single one of us would place on any team that we were building: The poor; the blind; the criminals in jail and the oppressed. Those are the souls we must pursue first if we are to be his co-labourers.
We are partners in finding the broke and broken for his kingdom
Luke 9: Then Jesus called the Twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and power to cure diseases. And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
Jesus called his followers and gave them powers like the world had never seen. He taught them how to exorcise or extricate the most powerful demons. Imagine these disciples could walk into a hospital today and command the arrest of cancer; leukemia, melanoma, or cervical cancer. He gave them power over all types of diseases – they were better than the best medical professionals. Jesus gave them all that capacity, and then, sends them to find the societal rejects.
There was a time as this church’s leader, I looked for capable workers to join this church. There was a time I searched for the educated ones. There was a time when I looked for the qualified. But an experienced church leader once told me, if you want to build a strong church, go after the rejected of society, the weak and feeble, the prostitute and other sinners; because that is what Jesus did.
Jesus can use the broke and broken to save other broke and brokens
Mark 6: The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught …he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” …When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, … So, he began teaching them many things. By this time, it was late in the day, so his disciples [said]…. “Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”
John 6: Philip …[said], “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” Another of his disciples, Andrew, … spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many? “Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
Why would Jesus need five small loaves and two measly fish from an innocent little boy? After all, he created the sea and all that is in it. Why would a Jesus who could turn five loaves into 15 thousand, and 2 fish into 10 thousand, need that little boy’s food anyway? It is because we are co-labourers in the salvation of men (1 Cor. 3:9). There is a song that says, “Lord, you don’t need me but somehow you want me.
In verse 9 of John 6, Simon draws a contrast between the food that was available and the size of the crowd. He said five small loaves and so many people. The scripture was careful to emphasize the minute nature of the food, five loaves, and the insignificance of the person who gave the food, a boy. It is because Jesus uses the least to rescue the least. He uses the broken to save the broken. If the resource of a boy can be used to serve a mass of needy people, those of us with the least talents can win people for the kingdom of God. There is no excuse. No talent or resource is too small. He can use us all. Will you make a commitment to saving one soul today? Will you commit to saving the most destitute and needy?