Devotion for September 26-28, 2017

Where Are the Outcasts?

A Boston judge ruled that the state has the right to evict a hermit living in a
makeshift wigwam on public land, but it must find him a home where he can be
close to nature and preserve his independence.

Is the hermit an outcast? In biblical times, according to the ruling Pharisees, the
outcasts were those who did not follow all of the many picky laws that they
demanded be kept for one to be considered righteous. According to custom, dreaded
lepers were outcasts as well. Matthew notes that Jesus ate with “tax collectors and
‘sinners'” (outcasts) (Matt. 9:10). Matthew also quotes the Lord as saying, “Those
who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick – For I have not
come to call the righteous (respectable people), but sinners” (outcasts) (Matthew
9:12,13b).

Who are the outcasts? The Boston hermit who lived in a plastic-sheet wigwam or the
committers of the crimes we hear about daily? Others?

Whatever our definition of outcast, there are people who, in our opinions, are
different from us, the “outs,” while we are the “ins,” the respectable, the acceptable.
Whoever we are and wherever we are, we have at least some of the Archie Bunker
syndrome in us that makes us look down upon, complain about and feel decidedly
superior to someone or groups of someones, the outcasts. We tend to choose that
they not be wherever it is that we are.

But if we feel and think that way, we are contradicting the Lord of the Church who
has sent you into the world in His name to seek the outcasts, to be His ambassadors
in bringing them in to share in the gospel and God’s love with us.

Jesus came to seek the outcasts and to die for them. We are all outcasts or sinners. In
God’s eyes they are all one and the same. His Son came to save all of us from our
sins. He came to you and me to bring us the new life He offers in His death and
resurrection. All He expects of us is to follow Him and make disciples of those
around us who don’t yet know Him- no matter what race or ethnic background they
happen to be. He also came to blot out our excuses for not sharing our faith with
them. Now all we have to do is to share the gospel of God’s love with them in Jesus’
name.

You can start simply by sharing a “thank you” with all of those people who are
serving you. When they share their hurts and joys with you, be a good listener. Pray
for the Lord to give you opportunities to love people and befriend them. When they
share their faith with you, ask them if you can share your faith with them. Then
share your faith in Christ lovingly with them. PRAY for the Holy Spirit to open up
their hearts and make them receptive to the loving gospel you are about to share.

Our Weekly Prayer: Lord of love, thank You for sending Your Son to be our
Savior. Enable us to be thankful to those serving us here. Give me opportunities
to share my faith in You with those serving me. Open up their hearts and make
them receptive to the loving gospel that I and others share with them. After
listening to their many needs, guide my words to shine Your healing love into
their hurting lives. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.