While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this they asked his disciples 'why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?' On hearing this Jesus said, 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous but sinners.
Cool thing to not miss - when Matthew decided to COME and FOLLOW, he grabbed his peeps and brought them to the Master. Awesome! This is a great indication that Matthew had stepped out of obliviousness. Matthew knew that this friends needed Jesus, and he brought them straight to the source...with food of course!!! Matthew recognized the brokenness of his friends, because he had been there. Matthew also knew something very important: Jesus didn't come for the people that have all together, or think they have it all together. Jesus came for the people that are falling apart. He came for the broken. Jesus came to mend. So what are the things that can leave me - or anyone broken?
- Sin. Seems obvious. Almost goes without saying right? Sin. All those things that separate me from God. In my sin category I must include a few things beyond the Big 10 (see Exodus 20). Pride - you know, my over inflated view of myself. I should also include worry - when I invest emotional, mental and spiritual effort in ways that do not effect change. Bitterness, Anger and Rage - longstanding resentment, or the habitual loss of control. An unforgiving spirit - holding on to hurt, and refusing to let God heal me.
- People - Sometimes people damage one another. The damage we do can be intentional or accidental. We can leave physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual wounds that run deep and cannot be denied.
- Life. Life can leave us feeling like we have been chewed up and spit out. Life can get hard as a result of the poor choices I make. Yet sometimes it's poor choices someone else has made that splash up on me; it's not my fault but I still get wet and it stinks. Then there are the hard things that just happen. People get sick, businesses close, houses burn or flood or blow down. Hard things happen and I don't know why.
- Church and Christians - Ouch. That one hurts doesn't it? God wants us to be a light not a blow torch (shout out to Matt Wilson). I've encountered Christians that are judgmental, hateful, vindictive, manipulative and cruel. I've been burned. Maybe you have to? If so, let me just say I am so sorry. I may not have been the one that wronged you, but I will be the one to seek forgiveness. Christians are just people, and people screw up sometimes. Don't let that stand between you and Jesus. People will fail you, but God never will.
The Good News...God's big enough for all of that and more!
God is in the mending business. I am being put back together by the hands of the Master ~ and it's not just a gift for me. To follow Jesus is to step out of the oblivious and step into the unknown. It's faith. It's not always seeing the big picture. It's doing what God asks, when God asks, for God's glory. It's nothing I can do on my own. Yeah, it can be scary. It can be hard, and it wont be comfortable. But I was created to be something more than oblivious, and so were you.