My Tuesday morning ladies Bible study group is getting ready to start an in-depth study on the book of Luke. As I’ve been reading through this book, I’ve discovered something that might seem trivial to you, but it struck me full on: Jesus was a people person. Yep, I know it’s difficult to believe, but he really was.
Many people think they too are a ‘people person’, but really, they’re not. Here’s what I mean: most of us don’t enjoy hanging out with people who don’t measure up to our standards. For example, you aren’t likely to see a very wealthy person associating on a regular basis with a homeless person – and no, dropping a few bucks in their beggar’s cup doesn’t count as associating. You’re also not likely to see successful business women having lunch with known prostitutes. The point I’m trying to make here is that we tend to enjoy spending time with people who are in the same social or economic classes as we are. People whose lifestyle is similar to ours. People who dress like us, talk like us, live in our neighborhoods, go to the same church as us, and who act and think like we do. Sure you may have a few acquaintances who are above or below you in the socio-economic chain, but they aren’t likely to be your close friends. And all you church folks can put your smug grins away – I’m talking about us too.
Jesus was different though. Even though he was God in the flesh and could have chosen to be born into any class he wanted to, he chose the life of an ordinary bloke. His closest friends were found in the working class – regular blue collar folks – fishermen and merchants. Conversely, he also had close friends in high places – tax collectors like Zacchaeus and Matthew. He spent time with the underbelly of society – lepers, pub owners, prostitutes, and foreigners. Jesus really was a people person. He didn’t care about social stature. He didn’t care about big fancy houses or nice clothes. He didn’t judge a person’s worth based on their tax return or their BMW or their zip code. His gift of friendship didn’t have strings attached. There was no protocol that had to be maintained. His friendship was offered freely to anyone who wanted to have it.
What about us?