My Jesus sits with Tax Collectors, Sinners, and Me! by Emma Crocker

Brokenness is one of the hardest lifestyle celebrations of WMF for me to celebrate. I’m a perfectionist with myself, and I often struggle with shame when I don’t meet my imagined and unrealistic standards. I can tell you now that what brought me to Jesus at the age of 15 was feeling seen by God as beloved, regardless of my imperfections.

As I work with WMF in Sierra Leone, I want to see others as God has seen and continues to see me.

I’m not a pastor or theologian (people that can be put on a huge pedestal here in Sierra Leone), and often I don’t have the words to say to people that come to me at the community center in pain, that is: spiritual pain.

I clean feet. I clean wounds. That is what I view as my main ministry at Ale Ale House of Hope; that’s what I’m comfortable with. I connect with the sick deeply, and I can tell you honestly now that that is not only because of struggling with physical sickness over the last 4 years, but because of knowing what it feels like to be spiritually sick.

Have you ever felt like that? Spiritually sick?

Discouragement can be consuming when working with the most vulnerable. Doubts come in. Grief can be seemingly constant. After all, we can’t turn our faces away from suffering when it’s in every direction around us in our communities. Suffering and brokenness.

What sustains me on the days where I feel like I’m in an ocean of suffering and brokenness, and I feel consumed by it, is knowing I have a friend in Jesus who sits with me in those “puddles of tears”. He sits with me as a sinner; He hasn’t come for the “healthy” but for the sick. He faces me, not turning His eyes away.

Jesus hasn’t called me or you to hide our brokenness or suffering. He’s not my friend because of my own righteousness.

As we serve our communities around the world, and wonder how to celebrate Brokenness and Suffering, maybe one first step can be to know that we serve a God that sits with us and never leaves us when we face sickness, brokenness, and suffering. Sometimes we don’t need to share a miraculous testimony of healing or say something encouraging for someone to feel God’s presence. Sometimes all people need to feel is compassion and our presence as a friend to them.

Jesus is a merciful doctor, who calls us to Him and meets us in our pain.

Matthew 9:9-13

9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.

10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’[a] For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

My Jesus sits with Tax Collectors, Sinners, and Me!