How do we respond to the outcasts of our society? What does our culture do with the poor, the addicts, the alcoholics, the gang members, the gay, the AIDS patients, the sinners? More important, what does the Body of Christ do with them? Do we see them as people in need of help, lost and searching for a way out of their despair and bondage? Or do we pretend they don’t exist? Do we keep them out of sight, somewhere far from our eyes, so we don’t have to deal with them?
We have forgotten what Jesus has done for us. We have forgotten that without his saving grace we would be just as lost and hopeless and blind as they are. If you took away our nice clothes and fancy cars, our houses and jewelry and jobs, our health and strength and faith, we, too, would be unwanted. Without Jesus, we are nothing! And without compassion, we have no place in God’s kingdom and no right to call ourselves sons and daughters of the King.
Time and again in Scripture we see Jesus going out of his way to touch the life of just one person. Even in the midst of large crowds he often focused on the needs of a poor beggar, a prostitute, a tax collector, a fisherman, a lame or blind man. He didn’t see crowds; he saw people, needy souls looking for help.
Imagine the impact we could have on our world if every minister, pastor, evangelist, and believer today saw people that way. If only we could put away our need to draw attention to ourselves and focus instead on the needs before us, the faces of loneliness, the eyes of pain and confusion that sit on every corner of the globe.
“Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind” (Luke 14:21).
Nicky Cruz, internationally known evangelist and prolific author, turned to Jesus Christ from a life of violence and crime after meeting David Wilkerson in New York City in 1958. The story of his dramatic conversion was told first in The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson and then later in his own best-selling book Run, Baby, Run.