Loving the Stinky

PigLife often stinks. I mean, literally stinks. If you are with me in Martin County, the pig capitol of the world, you may understand this better than some. I still remember going to basketball practice in high school during winter break. The team would meet in the locker room to get ready, and it was quite an experience. I would walk in after doing whatever I was doing and know I’m not exactly smelling like roses and lilacs. However, I would then have my senses assaulted by the handful of teammates that had just arrived at practice after working in the hog buildings all morning. That’ll wake a guy up before practice!
Stinky people aren’t a lot of fun to be in close quarters with. We often have a negative reaction to them; if they smell, it means they aren’t particularly clean. They’re hygiene isn’t what it should be. We don’t want to be around them.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people…

-Luke 2:8-10, ESV

When Jesus was born, God could have called up anyone to share the news. And who is the first bunch that He brings to the party? A bunch of shepherds; stinky, dirty, straight-from-the-fields sheep herders. As a friend of mine shared recently, they didn’t exactly have high quality bath facilities up in the pastures. These were guys that you gave a wide berth to when you passed on the street. And these are the first people God wanted to introduce to His son.

It makes me wonder – who are we introducing to God’s son? Are we only approaching those people we think are “clean” enough, “good” enough, “normal” enough, or enough like us? Are we spending time and building relationships just with people that we are comfortable with, or are we opening ourselves t go out of our way to connect with and care about any and all that God puts in our path? Are we looking for out for the needy, both those who are in need of physical things and those who are in need of the care and attention of another human being? We are called to love others, not just the easy people to love but the “stinky” ones as well.

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