Back in the Picture
Updated: Jan 29, 2021
WORDS failed him—but he was never the same.
His mom dropped him at the church parking lot every Thursday.
On Palm Sunday, the church bulletin was to feature the photo of kids lined up on the steps in front of the church.
That Thursday afternoon, William met the woman who commanded the class of children.
"Where's your tie?" she asked. And William froze.
We told you to wear a tie. There's a photographer, a professional one. And Dr. Hubert needs to have his photograph taken with the class.
"Every boy has a tie, even Stanley Stan," she said.
Words failed him as he fled out the door to the parking lot. He would wait at the preacher's parking space, confess his sins and humbly bow out of the picture and leave the church.
As the preacher pulled into the parking space in his Plymouth, he ran up to him.
Dr. Hubert, you do not know me, I am William Willimon. I did not know we were supposed to wear a tie.
I forgot; maybe my mum didn't tell me. I do not want to be in the picture, anyway.
"Tie? Why on earth should you wear a tie?" I am wearing one because I am a pastor—and I’m forced to wear it.
I'm unaware that you've had theological training.
Are you not preparing yourself for membership in the Methodist Church?
"Yes, sir," William replied.
Well, I know much about these matters than anyone present, and I know that there are no requirements here for ties to be worn to join the church.
There's no record of our Lord having worn a tie, and I know scripture. The point of this ceremony is to put you in the picture.
He led the startled boy back to the classroom, where the other boys were waiting.
"What a beautiful group," exclaimed Dr. Hubert.
I have one request before we go out and take our place on the church steps.
Boys, please no ties on a Thursday—only I can wear a tie in church on a weekday such are the rules.
You may wear them on Sundays. Please remove your ties, and let's take our picture. (Laugh Again)
TWO DAYS before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Jewish leaders met secretly to discuss how they might arrest Jesus and kill Him.
While he ate dinner in Bethany at Simon the leper's house, a woman came into the house carrying an alabaster box filled with a sweet-smelling ointment made from spikenard. (Luke 7:36-40)
THE WOMAN wanted to express her regrets, but her words failed her.
She knew that she didn't qualify but sought for forgiveness. She knelt before Jesus and wept.
Her tears fell on his feet—she wiped them with her hair and poured perfume on them.
THE HOST wondered if Jesus knew that she was a prostitute—and Jesus told him a story.
Two men owed a lender a lot of money. One owed a hundred week's wages and the other ten week's wages.
And when both men defaulted on their loans, the lender forgave them.
Which man will love the lender most?
I guess it was the one that was forgiven the most.
"Good answer," Jesus replied. (Luke 7:43)
I came into your house, and you gave me no water to wash my feet. And you did not customarily give me the kiss of welcome.
But she hasn't stopped kissing my feet since I got here.
JESUS forgave her when she barely knew where to turn.
Like Jesus brought her back into the picture, he wants to do the same for you.
All you need to do is confess your sins to Him and ask Him to come into your heart.
BRINGING IT TOGETHER
WE OFTEN forget that we were once outside—strangers to the Kingdom of God looking in. And when we became joint-heirs with Him, He brought us back into the picture.
But we must always remember that we are products of grace—and live as such.
God doesn't grade our behaviour on a curve, but our only hope is found in His grace – Chuck R. Swindol.