The Calling of Matthew
9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples.11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’[a] For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
I have a confession to make: Sometimes I don’t want to witness to the lost. I know it may be shocking to some of you, but, unfortunately, it is oh so true. Now, don’t get me wrong, I want everyone to have the opportunity to hear about Jesus; it is the ones who already know about him, but yet turn their backs that make me want to leave them to their own devices.
Cleary, I am wrong. I am making it a point everyday to pray for a heart for the lost. Not just for the ones in faraway lands, but those who are right here who may have heard about Jesus, but have never experienced Jesus.
Matthew 9 is a great example of how we are to witness to people. It is not enough to preach to them. Yes, we are to speak truth, but we are also called to get our hands dirty. Jesus did not just give sermon after sermon. No, he went to their homes, he had dinner with them, spent time in their environment. He became a part of their lives. Now, Jesus isn’t physically here, but he lives inside of everyone who believe in him; therefore, it is through us that others can experience Jesus.
For those of you quick to point out that we have to be careful with associating with sinners out of fear we may fall to temptation, let me just say you are right to be cautious. We must prepare ourselves when going into a situation where we are unevenly yoked. We must pray for God’s protection. We must make sure we have done our daily work and our relationship with the Lord is strong. However, if we are to follow Jesus’ example, we must not fear to “eat” with the sinners.
Jesus went to the home of Matthew, a tax collector. Matthew was so taken with Jesus and his message, that he invited his friends to join them. Now, notice Jesus did not go hang at the bar with the tax collectors or join in their “tax collecting” ways. No, these people understood that Jesus was different. They didn’t come to the dinner expecting Jesus to act like them; they came to see if He was indeed who He said He was.
I know it sounds corny, but we have to find the same opportunities. I am not naive. I know this sounds impossible because it “just don’t work like that in the real word.” Trust me, I know it doesn’t always. But sometimes it does. It is those “sometimes” and that “someone” we must strive for.
Lysa TerKeurst wrote the following in What Happens When Women Walk in Faith:
“We live in a fallen world, where people’s circumstances belie what God meant for His people to be and become. Yet here I sit in a warm home with a pantry stocked full of food and three little people who are looking at the way I live and patterning their lives after mine. These thoughts pounds in my head: I am only one person, I have three small children, limited resources, and an already full schedule. What can I do? I can’t right all the wrongs of this world. I can’t possibly help all the helpless. So I turn my head and do nothing.
Oh sure, I serve through Proverbs 31 Ministries and my local church body, but what about the helpless? What about those who truly have nothing and nobody to turn to? Who will be Jesus to them today? Who will live out the biblical response to those in need?
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
I am determined to stop turning my head. I vow that even though I cannot reach them all, I can reach one. God, show me which one.”
(What Happens When Women Walk in Faith pg. 180)
People don’t want to hear our message if all we ever do is preach. Sometimes, more often than not, it is our actions that get their attention. We must be willing to be a part of people’s lives and show them how the truths of Jesus work in their reality. We must be willing to help, I mean really help those in need. We must step out of our comfort zone and give our time, money, and talents. We must be willing to live life with sinners, plain and simple.
I believe in Jesus Christ. My sins are covered by His blood. I know where I will spend eternity. But I am not done. Jesus came so not one would perish, NOT ONE!!!! We are His hands and His feet. We must be willing to do His work.
It is not enough for me to sit here and write blog posts. After all, most who read my post already know the Lord. No, I feel God calling me to do more. I must be willing to invest in the lives of people, all people, even those “sinners”. One of the reasons I am where I am today is because someone took me under their wing and showed me a better way. How about you? Is God calling you to more?
As Lysa said, I can’t reach them all, but I can reach one today. God, please show me the one!
Until next time, stay safe and God bless,