Grace for Losers

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In Luke 18:9-14, we have two very different approaches to God. A Pharisee, one of the religious leaders of the day, comes before God and gives thanks that he is not like all the “…thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like the tax collector.” Then we hear from the tax collector who is begging God to “…be merciful to me….” Jesus tells those listening that God lifts up those who like the tax collector humble themselves before God.

Some years ago, I began a sermon saying “If your marriage is happy, if you have no addictions, if your children are all obedient and respectful, if you say all the words to the creed by heart, and have no major problems with believing the Bible and all of it, then you can leave now. This service is not for you.”

I meant what I said in that sermon. Too often we unintentionally present the Christian faith as if it is for the “winners,” those who are a success at life and believe. But of course, if you read the Bible, including the text from Luke 18, nothing could be further from the truth. The Bible is for losers, for those who don’t have their lives together, for those who are uncertain of their beliefs, for those who can’t get by on their own. In short, it is faith for people who need God to save them because they can’t save themselves. We call it grace, and it is amazing.

Still in one peace,

David J. Jensen

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