I hesitated to open the group text I’d just received from someone I
had not seen in years. I noticed that the list included friends I know
and numbers my phone didn’t recognize. It was either bot-generated
spam or, even worse, an intentionally typed, “God bless you! Pass
this along to ten more friends to keep the blessing going…and don’t
break the chain!”
My hardened shell melted when I read, “‘The bonds formed
by those who work together for the Lord are among life’s greatest
treasures. You guys hold a special place in our hearts. You’re our
treasure!! XO Meredith & Joe”.
I looked at the group list more carefully. The names of those I
recognized represented a variety of races, ages, and politics. I realized
we had all served together at a weekly Agape banquet in a city where
I’d lived years ago. Anyone and everyone were welcome at those
tables, and most who attended were homeless. Many of the guests I
got to know by name; many more I didn’t.
In today’s passage, Jesus went about all the cities and villages… proclaiming the good news (9:35, 36). Then Jesus summoned Simon and Andrew, James and John, and the rest that we know as the twelve disciples, even Judas, which verse 4 tells us is the one who betrayed him.
Jesus proclaimed the good news to everyone in all the cities and villages, just as he also called out individuals by name. Thankfully, Jesus still calls us all—everyone and every one—to dine and to serve together at God’s table. So we pull up a chair for ourselves and remember to set a place for everyone else while we’re at it.
What groups may God be inviting you to serve with? How could you encourage those with whom you share a commitment to care for others?
God, in my efforts to minister to the many, don’t let me neglect the one. And don’t let my attention to the few allow me to ignore the many. Amen.