READ : Luke 5:27–39
And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” (v. 30)
Although Jesus was perfectly righteous, he was accused of gluttony and carousing because he ate dinner with a man whose reputation was not the best. Perhaps in the light of this it is time we re-evaluated the old proverb, “A man is known by the company he keeps.”
Christians are required to attempt the near-impossible. We are to be “in the world,” but not “of the world.” Each has its temptations. We must be on guard against the temptation to succumb to the “desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life” (1 John 2:16). But just as there is a temptation to be “of the world,” there is also a temptation to avoid our responsibility of being “in the world.” We enjoy the company of our relatives and fellow Christians, and avoid a lot of embarrassment by ignoring the presence of the immoral or the irreligious.
But how are we going to witness to someone if we are afraid to be seen talking to him on the street? How can a person learn of God’s willingness to forgive as long as we act as though she does not exist when we meet her on the sidewalk?
Twentieth-century Pharisees still cry out against eating and drinking with sinners, but the true follower of Christ must befriend the sinner without participating in his sin. (originally published May 8, 1967)
Lord, give me a real concern for the lost, both in distant lands and those nearby. Amen.