Involuntary Grace

There can be times that the things we encounter are so far outside of our experience and comfort zone that in the moments immediately following our exposure, we have involuntary reactions. When we see, hear or experience something outrageous by comparison to our context for “normal,” our contorted facial expressions, rolling of our eyes or even a blank gaze can communicate our shock.

Our scope of “normal” comes from our experience which is largely based in our social position. When we reside in comfortable surroundings, our “normal” is likely limited to those things that are within the boundaries of comfortable.

Of the original disciples that were chosen to follow Jesus, we know that four were fisherman and one, Philip, was a close friend to two of those (Andrew and Peter) so he was likely a fisherman or at least comfortable hanging out with fisherman. We also know that Matthew was a tax collector, which would likely have made him unpopular and certainly active among the “common” people of a society. We’re not sure about the occupation of the remaining six of the original twelve.

So a strong argument can be made that six of the original twelve, at a minimum, lived lives that were in the trenches. They were blue-collar, every day guys making a living among the working class of society. They were exposed to the good, the bad and the ugly of day-to-day efforts of people within the culture. They were not affluent, privileged or insulated by exceptional comfort in their circumstances.

I wonder if Jesus chose them, in part, so that they wouldn’t involuntarily make faces disclosing their discomfort when they came across the prostitutes, demon-possessed and outcasts that Jesus was going to be engaging? After all, it’s a ministry killer if you are disapproving of those that you seek to serve sense that they are judged or rejected. His was a down and dirty ministry and there was likely a need to call those that were comfortable in the down as well as in the dirty.

Have our circumstances ever gotten us to a point that we aren’t comfortable around the rejected outcasts in our culture?

It’s in and around them that Jesus is hanging out (“I was hungry and you fed me . . . “).  Are we ready and able to step into the difficult to serve with Jesus in His Kingdom at the expense of our comfort? Once there, the only involuntary look that should be evident on our face or in our eyes is one of grace because we know Grace.


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