Standing out in a crowd

Friday 06 August 2021

Crowd of silhouettes with one person in bright orange

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.

1 Peter 2:9

It has to be said, I’m probably not one of the most observant people on the planet. If someone sends me one of those Facebook posts where you have to spot something and then share when you see it, I would be looking forever and still not see it and not wanting to waste time on Facebook, you will probably never get a share from me like that. During my time as a youth worker we used to go to a summer bible camp with groups of young people. One of the activities which was a favourite, was called “hunt the staff”. About twenty of the staff would dress up in all sorts of costumes and place themselves on a stretch of the promenade and beach at Cleethorpes seafront and the groups of young people with their leaders would walk up trying to spot and identify them. I used to walk past many of them, even the ones in full fancy dress who stood out clearly in the crowds. Needless to say, my group never won that competition. Especially as I always ended up with a group who were very keen to get to the ice cream shop.

We continue our series of bible stories this week about people who met Jesus and were changed. We read in Luke’s Gospel about a tax collector called Zacchaeus who stood out in the crowd despite being physically small. He initially stood out from others because of his notoriety as a dodgy tax collector who lined his own pockets with an extra tax he collected and extorted from the people of his town. After his encounter with Jesus he said, “Look, Lord! Here and now, I give half of my possessions to the poor and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

He would have stood out from the crowd that day for his honesty and generosity.

Jesus told Zacchaeus “Salvation had indeed come to his house’’. Being saved, becoming born again and a child of God will inevitably mean receiving an inner transformation of the heart. As the Holy Spirit dwells there and an outer change in behaviour, attitudes and actions, so the inner change becomes visible to others around you.

Jesus said You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they set it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house

Take a moment to reflect on your own life. How does your relationship with Jesus shine and become visible in your home, your work place, school, college and with those who you socialise with?

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 Luke 19:1-10

You can't blend in when you were born to stand out.

R.J. Palacio
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