Jesus once went to the home of a hated Tax Collector (Luke 15). In fact, He went and ate a meal with this person (and with his fellow-sinner friends).
That might seem like a benign thing to you, but you have to remember that in that culture, sitting across from a table and breaking bread with someone was the way to socialize and fellowship. They didn’t have movie theaters or concerts, etc. They hung out and ate together.
The sight of Jesus eating with a sinner was too much for the Pharisees to take, however. And they turned their noses up and condemned Jesus for His practice.
In response the Lord told three stories. One was of a sheep that was lost and of the shepherd that sought to find him.
Another story was of a coin that was lost and of the tireless searching (and finding) undertaken by its owner. The third, and longest, story was of a boy who ran away from home.
We call him “the prodigal son.” The word “prodigal” has come to refer to “sinner” or “rebellious” but actually the word refers to those who “party and engage in revelry to the point of sinfulness.” In other words, this kid ran away with a lot of money and blew it on multiple frat parties.
He’s the “partying son.” But thankfully he came to his senses and went home, hoping that–at best–he would be allowed to stay as a servant to his father. Instead his dad forgave him entirely and restored him to the family. It was a true “homecoming.”
This Sunday we at the Guy congregation are going to be having our 5th annual “Friends and Family / Homecoming Sunday.” If you have a friend and you’ve been looking for the right time and way to invite him, make this Sunday the time. He or she may be someone who has never darkened the door of a “church” building. Or may they did in the past but they were made to feel unwelcome. Maybe they have “too many” tattoos. Maybe they have “too many” piercings. Maybe they’ve done “too much” bad stuff in the past.
Nonsense: There is always salvation to be found with Jesus. There is always forgiveness, family and friendship to be found with Jesus. Invite that person and you tell them that they will be made to feel like the precious creation of God that they are. My Master ate with worse people than that, and we’d be happy to eat with them too.
Maybe that someone you’ve wanted to invite used to worship but they fell away and now feel they’re too far gone.
Nonsense: The Lord has been seeking for His lost sheep. He’s been looking for His lost coin. He’s been waiting for His lost child to come home. Invite them to worship with you Sunday and let’s help them come home.