November 01, 2005

Follow Him

The book of Matthew gives us another very clear example of how Jesus wants us to lead our lives. Jesus had healed a paralyzed man in Capernaum and came across a tax collector. In Jesus' time, tax collectors were even more despised than they are now. This entire area was under Roman control, and they stationed tax collectors in every town to make sure people paid proper homage to the Emperor. These men, who were above any local laws, often charged more than was actually due and pocketed the excess profit.

Jesus saw one of these loathed officials, a man named Matthew. In Matthew 9:9, he writes, "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.

Please take note that he did not go home and ask his wife if it was okay, he didn't give Rome two weeks notice, he didn't say, "I'll do that after football season is over." Matthew did none of that. He immediately realized just who it was calling him, and he answered in a decisive and immediate manner. Talk about stepping out in faith!

Jesus is calling all of us to serve him in ways appropriate to the gifts he has blessed us with. In my own life, I have often been guilty of putting off that call because of going to school, pressures at work, financial difficulties, and extra demands because of a partially disabled wife. I kept God at arms' length (unless I needed something, of course) for many years, and I was the poorer for it. Once my wife passed away and my life was stripped down to its basics, I heard Him still calling, and I finally listened. This blog is but one manifestation of doing the work He has equipped me to do, and I am being blessed by it.

I have grown to understand some of the additional difficulties members of the GLBT community have in reaching this point, often torn between a partner who is not listening to Jesus' call, estranged from some if not all of their family who are unable to accept them as they are, and shunned by the very church they would want to join.

Jesus never said following him would be easy, but He also assured us he wound never ask us to do anything we were not equipped to do. He also told us in Matthew 19:19 "Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or childern or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life."

We need to remove the obstacles keeping us from serving Jesus. Ultimately, we are the very ones who will benefit the most from doing so.

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