A funny thing happened this afternoon. I was doing a bit of a life-analysis, as one is want to do when they are forced to sit still on a plane. I was thinking on Jesus' words that he came to call sinners, not the righteous, like a doctor who is there for the sick, not the healthy.
Do I just want to be healthy, and be around ostensibly "healthy" people? Do I want to simply stay in my comfortable, middle-class Christian life that appears to tick all the boxes and allows me to be well off in my hip inner-city suburb? Or do I want to be like Jesus and be among the marginalised, potentially burdensome, lonely people that are all over this city, but hidden from view?
As I thought about my priorities, another verse came to mind. It was God's words to ancient Israel in Hosea: "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgement of God rather than burnt offerings".
Do I really want to love God with my whole heart, or just do what looks like obedience - throw God the scraps, like some kind of domestic pet? God wanted Israel's hearts, not their lame offerings. I can't imagine he wants mine.
When I got home, I couldn't remember the exact reference of the Matthew quote, so looked it up and discovered something beautiful. Jesus himself actually tied the Hosea verse into his comment about the healthy and the sick, as is told in Matthew 9:12 - 14. These two thoughts ARE related.
On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Jesus, I want to learn what this means. Help me.