Saturday, August 30, 2008

Who Would You Invite?

I was reading this morning in Luke chapter 5: 27-32. This is about Matthew the Tax collector. I have read this story so many times and to tell you the truth, I almost skimmed over it. But, then I was reminded of my commitment to read to learn. So with a heavy sigh, I asked God to teach me and began reading. Wow! was I surprised! Here let me set the stage for you...

Jesus has just healed the paralytic man. The ones that his four friends had let down through the roof. He had also ticked off the Pharisees by forgiving the man his sins. Luke 5:27 says, "After these things He went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, "Follow Me." v.28 So he left all, rose up, and followed Him."

Now, I know you have heard this story just like me. So in order to read to learn I stopped and pondered it in my mind. What did Matthew already know about Jesus? Did he know or see what had happened to the paralytic man? Because he was a tax collector, he was a despised low-count as prostitutes to the Jews. That brought up more questions: How did he end up a tax collector? How is it that he took a job knowing that his own people would hate him for it? The Special Ed teacher part of me wants to find out about his self worth at the time he took the tax collectors job. I'll have to ask him in eternity. But one thing I do know, He had to be smart. Not only because it would require education to be a tax collector but also because we later see the Gospel he wrote. After pondering this I remembered that Matthew wrote this gospel with an emphasis to the Jews. The very people who had hated him as a tax collector. He wrote the gospel to try and convince them of the Deity of Christ.

We know that Matthew got right up and followed! No, who are you's? No , I have to work now. Can you come back at 5. He just left all! You know, this is confession time for me. I still wonder sometimes if I would get up and immediately leave all. I'm struggling now with the change in my job, yet I'm not ready to just leave all. Anyway, back to the scripture.

This next part is one of those, "I've never noticed that before" moments. Vs. 29. "Then Levi gave Him a great feast in his own house. And there were a great number of tax collectors and others who sat down with them. vs.30 And their scribes and the pharisees complained against His disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?"

Before I get into Jesus answer, I want you again think about Matthew and what he did. He just left his job! He is now unemployed. What does he do? He throws a feast! Not just a little dinner party...a huge....big dog feast! God is changing my own job and what do I do? I am pinching every penny as tight as I can! What was different about Matthew? I think it was because he knew that his life was changed forever. I think he had so much faith and trust in Jesus that he knew how little the material things now were! Look tax collectors though hated were wealthy men. Yet Matthew knew that this was no longer important. What was important to him now was Jesus! We can see that in who he invited. He didn't go to the Jews, or the scribes and Pharisees. He invited the other tax collectors and sinners! He wanted them to know and see and experience Jesus! Oh, how I wish that had been my focus these last few weeks of worrying and whining about my job change.

Excuse me a minute.

"Lord, please give me the strength, the faith and the focus to stop complaining and see who I need to invite to experience You."

Jesus answered the Pharisees by saying He did not come for the righteous but sinners. (paraphrase)

I am amazed at Matthew. If I were to throw a feast today, Who would I invite to experience Jesus? I teach at a Christian school, my husband is a minister and all of my friends are believers. What about you? Who would you invite?


Elizabethd said...

I loved reading this. Thank you.

Leebird said...

Good question...I, like you, used to be surrounded by Believers...that was back when I was a stay-at-home mom. Now that I'm working at a public school, I have a much larger sphere of influence in the "world." Who would I invite? 1. My friend Christine who knows lots about God but doesn't know Him intimately.
2. My friend Tracy who has a loud laugh to cover up her inner pain.
3. My friend Stacy who has such a love for God, but is in bondage to a cult that uses Christian terms with completely different definitions. 4. My next-door-neighbors who have the police at their house on a regular basis.
5. My mom...who knows the Lord but need a deeper walk with Him.
6. My brother-in-law Buddy who loves the Lord but needs deliverance from smoking. 7. My friend Sherri from church who suffers from more health trouble than anyone I know, but with complete she could touch the hem of His garment. 8. My boys so they could be overcome with a desire to follow hard after Jesus. 9. The cashiers at McDonalds and Sonic I've been praying for. and 10. My friend Amber and her parents so their relationship could be restored and their hearts could be changed.

I'd probably invite way more, but I have to meet my mom for lunch now! :) Love me and fill me in on you. Love, Lee

Chatty Kelly said...

I've blogged about this often. Being in my "bubble" surrounded by like folks. I am working at being more accessible to all. I really smile and chat with the check out gal. I try to encourage more. Make a point to chat and have eye contact, even when I'm in a hurry.

Maybe someone will see Christ in me. And perhaps that will be the first invitation to believe in him.

Runner Mom said...

What a great post! I have never thought about Matthew in those terms! I am in such a bubble!!! Somebody pop it, please!! I'll think about who I'd invite tonight!!Enjoy your holiday weekend!
Love ya,

Leebird said...

Hey love,

I used your "Who would you invite?" as an activity in my Sunday School class today because...the scripture we "just happened" to be studying was Matthew 9....I love it when God does that! :)

Hey...I have bestowed an award upon you...check out my blog to see it. If you don't have time to pass it on, I'm ok with it...I just wanted you to know how much your blog ministers to me. Love, Lee

My ADHD Me said...

I've often wondered (ok, not often, but I have wondered) about the circumstances involved when Jesus' disciples just got up and followed him. Like you said, no questions, no asking for a few days or even hours to "tie Up loose ends". Just get up and go.
Great post.

On Purpose said...

Dear Zoie,

Thank you so much for your precious prayer. For He answered your prayers. I am living in joy knowing He is all around me.

Sweet girl, now know this, even if the Big Guy doesn't keep you at this church for very long, it is all in His plan, make the most of every second, and just go ahead and love on everyone around you!

May you have a wonderful school year!

Thank you Zoie for touching my heart and loving on me, God is doing great things through you!
Nichole *aka Mrs On Purpose*

Starr said...

We are such on open book to those around us, aren't we? especially when we struggle. The world is watching to see how we will react to a bad situation. I pray that each one of us will react in a way that all people around us will want to be invited to our celebration! They will wonder how we can hold up under stress and thay will want what we have...Christ Jesus!!!

Leebird said...

Can't wait to hear about your was so great to speak with you on the phone the other day...made my day! Love, Lee