Have you ever walked into a hospital and thought, “Wow, why are all these people so sick and hurt?” I would guess not. Everybody knows that hospitals are where sick or hurt people go.
Have you ever been the sick person arriving at the hospital and said to the doctors, “Well, there’s nothing wrong with me, I’m fine!” Of course not. They would ask what on earth you’re doing there, and tell you to go home. But you’re there precisely because you realise you’re sick or hurt, and need help.
What do we think Church is? Among other things, church is a bit like a hospital. Jesus is the doctor, and we are all patients… and also partners with Jesus in bringing healing and restoration to each other and others.
“But the Pharisees and their scribes complained to Jesus’ disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answered, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” Luke 5:30-31
Many times we come to church with different expectations… it is a place where I have to dress up, I have to be happy all the time, I have to measure up, I have to pretend, I have to have it together. Imagine walking into a hospital and saying to all the patients, “Stop lying around in bed! Get out of that gown, put some nice clothes on, do your hair, wipe that frown off your face!” You wouldn’t dare! Because you know why those people are there and what they need.
Perhaps we have forgotten that we are all to be counted among the “sick” in Jesus’s reply to the Pharisees… because we have all been born imperfect and born into a broken and fallen world. As the body of Christ, we get to meet together to minister to one another, to pray for one another, comfort one another, love one another, and provide for one another (among many other “one another”s!). We all have needs, whether spiritual, physical, or emotional! And it’s no use hiding them… because they usually don’t go away on their own!
Even the great Apostle Paul was constantly asking for prayer and other needs from fellow believers in his letters. When we start being real about the things that aren’t going so well in our hearts or in our lives, it invites others to be open and honest about their needs too. Some things we might not have even thought to pray about! But God cares about all our needs, great and small. Nothing is too small (or too big) for Him!