Tuesday, November 6, 2012
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When I lived in the New York area, I occasionally spoke for the New York Giants, and the New York Jets, and the Yankees, and the Mets, and some of their visiting teams. Now, when people heard about that, guess what their first question usually was? Well, of course, they said, "Ron, what scripture verse did you speak on?"
No! What they asked was, "Who was there? Who did you meet?" And they wanted to hear who attended and who I got to shake hands with. People got excited because I had been with some star they knew about. But much more frequently than those events, I've had the opportunity to be with some real VIPs; some real very important people. But you probably wouldn't recognize their names.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Getting Close to a VIP."
Ok, here comes our word for today from the Word of God. It's in the tenth chapter of the gospel of Mark. "Some Pharisees came and tested Jesus by asking, 'Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?'" That's in verse 2, and this ongoing conversation continues with these very important people from Jerusalem. In the middle of all of that in verse 13 it says, "People were bringing little children to Jesus to have Him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them." I think in the Greek it says, "Go away, kid!"
Well, "When Jesus saw this, He was indignant. He said to them, 'Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.' He took the children in His arms, put His hands on them and blessed them."
Okay, here's the scene. Jesus is with the power brokers from Jerusalem, and then He's with these little kids crawling all over His lap. The question: When was Jesus with the VIPs? Not the big shots; not the power brokers. Oh, He was with the VIPs, He said, when He was with the children. The disciples got it wrong. Maybe they were running the nursery that day. Listen, have you ever been in the nursery when the pastor preached too long and the kids are going crazy? Well, the disciples are saying, "No, no, He's with important people now." Jesus said, "Uh-uh, these are the important people."
You know, we have a tendency to really curry favor with the powerful, to oblige the rich, to try to get close to the stars in whatever our constellation is, whether it's business, or school, or church. But what Jesus models here is what I would call a VIP inversion. He says, "The little people are the big people to Him: children, the homeless, the hurting, the powerless, the misfit, the lonely, the excluded." Jesus gives prime time to those who can give Him nothing. He focuses on those who have no votes, no money, no favors to give. This must be a pretty important account, because it's recorded in three of the gospels. And we are told here that Jesus was indignant when the disciples made this values error.
So, who do you think the VIPs are in your world? Well, if you see what Jesus sees, you'll know it's the little people. You'll know that you're becoming like Jesus when you start to lose your fascination with people who are powerful, or those who can do something for you. You're becoming like Jesus when you feel yourself wanting to be with the people He thinks are important; not the ones the world says are important. The ones the world sees as powerless and unimportant.
See, when you get close to a little person, just ask Jesus, you are getting close to a real VIP.