Recently I heard someone "dropping names." The person was naming people he genuinely knew, but they were rich and famous and it grated on my ears to hear. That started me thinking: how did Jesus spend His time and who did He spend it with?
We know Jesus knew some pretty "rich and famous" people: Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea and even Jarius (ruler of the synagogue whose daughter died). Yet the only record we have of Jesus' contact with them is at night in the dark for Nicodemus, after Jesus died for Joseph and in a dire crisis for Jarius.
The rest of the time Jesus spent His days and nights with very ordinary people in a fairly local area. We know he grew up in the small hill town of Nazareth and worked as a common laborer in a carpenter's shop. From the Gospel accounts, we know he spent a lot of time in northern Galilee around Capernaum. He spent some time east of Jerusalem at Bethany with his friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus.
Think about it. Where did Jesus spend most of His time? What was He doing? Who did He hang around with? He hung around with the dirty (like lepers), the outcast (like a tax collector who was regarded as a traitor and a mad man who lived in a cemetery), the shunned (like the woman who had been bleeding for many years). His critics charged that He was a friend to sinners. Indeed He was!
I guess that's how I know there's hope for me! No matter what - Jesus is willing to hang out with me!
AND that's also how I know He can use me to build His kingdom. But I have to go where the dirty, outcast and shunned are because they will never come to me.
Those dirty outcasts who are shunned by society can spot a fake a mile off so I need to take my "being restored heart" with me so I can love them with the same love Jesus has for them.
Jesus put it very plainly, "When you give a party, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed ... " (Luke 14:12 - 14)
And that's exactly why there's a Restoration Church gathering in the South Hills of Pittsburgh - because that's exactly what Jesus would do and who He would invite!