by Dennis Nosal
“And it came to pass, as he sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto His disciples, Why eateth your Teacher with the publicans and sinners? But when He heard it, He said, They that are whole have no need of a physician, but they that are sick.” (Matthew 9:10-12 ASV)
We’ve had a great year reaching out to the community by letting our presence be known of in Mt. Juliet. I hope this will become just the first year we began emphasizing our community involvement. We’ve had a wide range of programs throughout this year providing services to those in need in our community. We started off the year with a public servants breakfast and had a car care clinic for single moms. We’ve helped at the little league ballpark and held services in the park, inviting all of Mt. Juliet to join in our picnic and evening services. Our Stateside evangelistic campaign has just concluded and what a success that was! We had the largest involvement of our members knocking on more doors than any campaign since we started this program. The campaign is still continuing as we follow-up on all the completed contact cards. Thank you to all who made these efforts to reach out to our community a success. We’ve got more planned throughout the remainder of this year. Let’s keep up the good work.
I must admit, some of these programs made me feel a little uneasy. I especially wondered about the wisdom of supporting community programs that seem to work against the church. After all, it was just recently that one of the community programs that we supported changed their policy to keep kids playing ball on Sunday morning instead of in church. How could we be seen supporting a community program that encourages our youth to miss Sunday morning worship in favor of playing ball? Then I’m reminded that Jesus didn’t just confine Himself to the synagogues. He stepped out and ate with the publicans and sinners. Notice His response when He was challenged for this behavior. He was reaching out to those who needed Him. They didn’t know they needed a physician but Christ had compassion on them anyway. Christ wasn’t just breaking bread with the publicans and sinners. He was serving as a physician to those who were sick. He was breaking the bread of eternal life. As we reach out to the community of Mt. Juliet, let’s remember Christ’s example. It’s not just about providing a needed service to our community, but ministering to those who need to hear the Word of God. As we reach out to those in our community, let’s be sure that those we’re reaching out to can see Jesus living in our lives. Let’s be vigilant in looking for the opportunities that God gives us to break the bread of life to those living around us.