I met Patricia for the first time the other day while I was in one of the larger cities here in South Carolina. After a few moments of small talk, we told each other that we both are Christians. Then she proceeded to tell me about one of the ministry projects she has taken on in her life.
One night a week she drives down to a busy intersection in her city, parks her car, and starts walking. She goes to talk with the prostitutes that are on the sidewalk. And her mission is to offer them help. Patricia asks them how their chosen profession is working out for them. Needless to say, that gets the discussion going. Then she invites them to meet her at her church the next morning. Finally, she tells them that the Lord loves them, and He can turn their lives around if they will let Him.
When I asked her if any of them ever show up the next morning, her face lit up. "Oh yes, some of them actually do!" responded Patricia. They show up, sit by her, enjoy a good worship service, hear the gospel, and meet several other ladies in the church, including the pastor's wife. And the best part is this: Some of these women have asked Jesus to be their Lord and have experienced wonderful changes in their lives, which includes getting off the streets.
Isn't that awesome?!
The ministry of Patricia reminds me of the ministry of Jesus. See, He's all about saving sinners and fixing people who have made a real mess of their lives. In Mark 2:17, Jesus told some self-righteous, "holier than thou", religious leaders, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." The mission of our Lord is to forgive faults and save souls.
Jesus doesn't write off people who mess up. No way! He reaches out, loves them up, and transforms their lives. And if we're anything like Jesus, we need to join Him in this work. When we see someone who has made a real mess of things, let's not look down on them them with a heart of condemnation. Instead, let's show some grace and offer them hope in Jesus.
God bless Patricia! She's a special lady doing an important work. I rejoice over her ministry. And may God provide each of us opportunities to do His work in our own little corners of this world. What a thrill it is to know that God can use us to turn lives around.