A few years ago Sarah and I sat in a McDonalds in Dublin having some lunch. Across the table from us was a man who we had just met earlier that day on Grafton Street, and just a few hours later we were enjoying some lunch together. He was originally from Romania, and now found himself on the streets of Dublin…quite literally. It was humbling to listen to parts of his life story in his broken English…and to share parts of ours with him too.

After a short time together we parted and went our separate ways….only to find just a short time later that he was beside us again. We had another short conversation, but later on the same thing happened. We realised he was following us. In fact, over the course of the next couple of days we saw him several times on Grafton Street and beyond. Our small act of kindness had led to him wanting more of our hospitality, our money and our time.

I was reminded of this incident recently when I read this verse:

“…the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him.” Luke 15:1

The drop outs and outcasts of the day were coming to Jesus. They were following Him. They gathered close. In fact, it seems they saw something attractive in Jesus so much so that they wanted to be near to him. His life and his actions were so counter cultural, and so full of mercy, grace, passion and love that multitudes got close to hear what he had to say.

And I remembered our Romanian friend who saw something attractive in us that he wanted to be around. And it made me sad, because I began to question how many ignored, lonely and forgotten people have been attracted to my life recently? How many are finding my actions so attractive that they want to gather close? And how many people are hearing more from Jesus out of the messy whispers of my life.

Challenged by the memories…