When the Pharisees saw this, they said to Jesus’ disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Matthew 9:11
In school there was always the “cool kids’ table.” Maybe you sat at it, maybe you didn’t, but you remember the table. In fact, there were likely a few “cool” tables, each varying by degrees of popularity. The cool table. The really cool table. The super cool table. The rest of the tables, at which the vast majority of kids sat, were entirely forgettable. Every kid’s dream was to move up to a better table, but that rarely happened. You sat where you sat. Your friends were your friends. And either you were either cool or you were not. There was little comingling between cliques.
That was the remarkable thing about Jesus. Jesus broke down barriers. He sat with people he shouldn’t have. He took interest in people others had forgotten about. And he took flack for it. Jesus was the guy who was more than willing to move from the cool table to a less desirable table, and most people couldn’t understand why. Jesus had a soft spot in his heart for those who found themselves on the outside of the in-group . . . and so does God.
Who is in your clique, and who do you leave out?
Lord, there are people I avoid. There are people I make fun of. There are people I can’t stand to be around. In truth, I am fairly certain there are people who feel the same way about me. Give me the strength, courage, and resolve to sit with people who the world would like to forget about. Help me to care about people, like You do. In Your name, I pray. AMEN.