St. Andrew's Lutheran Blog
Dear Friends and Members of St. Andrew's:
Nordstrom's department stores have a rule for their employees. The rule is as follows: "Rule #1: use the best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules."
The Land's End return policy is: "If you are not satisfied with any item, simply return it to us at any time for an exchange or refund of its purchase price. We mean every word of it, whatever, whenever, always. To make sure this is perfectly clear, we've decided to simplify it further, guaranteed, period!"
The Marshall Fields department stores have a very simple rule for their employees: "The customer is always right!"
I want to make it clear that I am not advocating, advertising, or trying to promote any of these companies. However, I am lifting up something that they all have in common. Each of these companies puts people above policy or procedure.
Jesus did the same.
This weekend we will study Mark 2:13-17. For the second week in a row we read that Jesus seriously upset the religious leaders of his day. In this weekend's text, Jesus eats at the home of Matthew, who was a tax collector. The Pharisees, who were the teachers and the keepers of the religious laws of the day, were angry at Jesus for eating with a tax collector.
Tax collectors were required to turn in a certain portion of what they collected to the government treasury. Whatever a tax collector could get above and beyond the required amount was theirs to keep. As a result, tax collectors were generally considered to be thieves, crooks, and cheats.
The Pharisees said to the disciples, "Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?" We next read, "When Jesus heard this he said, 'Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but the sinners.'"
Not only did Jesus make it clear that people were more important than rules and laws, he went further than that. By eating with sinners, tax collectors and people that no good law-abiding people would ever associate with, he made it clear that he would not let others' judgments or stereotypes of people keep him from anyone.
In a society that was governed by rules and laws, Jesus made it clear that grace and forgiveness are at the heart of life with him. What differentiates Christianity from all other world religions is that it is grounded in the grace of forgiveness. This radical grace was hard for the people of Jesus' day, just as it is hard for some people of our day.
Sometimes it is hard for us to believe that God's grace truly is meant for us, but it is! Sometimes we get a bit like the Pharisees and make judgments about others that are not ours to make. God forgives us anyhow.
St. Andrew's Lutheran Church
Church offices: 651-426-3261
Weekly Worship Schedule:
Sundays 9:30 a.m. Great Hall