Rebecca Manley Pippert concludes her book, Out of the Salt Shaker & into the World [IVP, 1979], pp. 177-178) with this story. When she first went to Portland, Oregon, to work with a campus ministry, she met a student named Bill. He was always dishevelled in his appearance and he never wore shoes. Rain, sleet, or snow, Bill was always barefoot.
“Bill became a Christian, but his appearance didn’t change. Near the campus was a church made up of mostly well-dressed, middle-class people. One Sunday, Bill decided to worship there. He walked into church with his messy hair, blue jeans, tee shirt, and barefoot. People looked a bit uncomfortable, but no one said anything. Bill began walking down the aisle, looking for a seat. But the church was quite crowded that day, so he got all the way down front without finding a seat. So he just plopped on the carpet, which was fine for a college Bible study, but a bit unnerving for this rather formal church. You could feel the tension in the air.
Suddenly, an elderly man began walking down the aisle toward Bill. Was he going to scold him about how you’re supposed to look when you come to church? People thought, ‘You can’t blame him for what he’s going to do. His world is far removed from that boy’s world for him to understand.’
As the man kept walking slowly down the aisle, all eyes were on him. You could hear a pin drop. When the man reached Bill, with some difficulty he lowered himself and sat down next to Bill on the carpet. He and Bill worshiped together on the carpet that day. There was not a dry eye in that church.”
That elderly man accepted Bill who appeared to be very different. The elderly man recognized that he needed to accept Bill as Christ accepted them both.
When we do that, God is glorified.
How would you respond? Something to ponder.