Toby Kurth is the head pastor at a church in San Francisco called Christ Church SF. I randomly came across one of his sermons via podcast and discovered his thoughtful, comprehensive, and straightforward style of preaching. He also reminds me a bit of Senator Marco Rubio in his communication style. Anyway, one of the recurring themes of his sermons centers around the concept of all people being image-bearers of God. This is in reference to Genesis 1:27: “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” His challenge is to see all people, not just the ones we’re like or can relate to, as God’s image-bearers.
To me, this challenge is both incredibly important and incredibly easy to mess. Every time I see someone wait until the last possible second to change lanes on the highway or leave their car incorrectly parked, my temptation is to call them an idiot, or worse! It’s so easy to roll my eyes at the person who’s “taking their sweet time” at the store check out. Yet none of these are the reaction God wants me to have. My pride, self-righteousness, prejudice, and selfishness get in the way.
As a result I’m forcing myself to stay cognizant of the fact that every human being is an image-bearer of God. It doesn’t matter what their age or demographic is. It doesn’t matter what their level of educational attainment is. It doesn’t even matter what their behavior is. Everyone I rub shoulders with is an image-bearer. Every time I find myself uttering “that idiot” under my breath, I quickly realize that my attitude is wrong. Every time I start to think about how much someone bothers me, I have to remind myself how God views them. It’s not easy, but it’s definitely having a positive impact on my life so far.
If you’re interested in checking out Kurth’s sermons for yourself, you can download them on the Christ Church SF website. As far as I can tell, he doesn’t have an Instagram or Twitter account, so there’s no way to “connect with him.” He hasn’t written any books either, which is all probably a good thing when you consider what pastoring in America has come to mean.