Calling can be a confusing thing. Often times people talk about calling in relation to their profession, place of belonging, premonition or personal prowess. However, calling in Scripture is more often related to a Person.
Likely you follow Jesus because he called you to follow. The fact that Jesus calls you and me to follow him is utterly amazing. It is unexpected. I am unworthy. Think about it. God is the only one who completely and perfectly knows you, he undoubtedly cares for you, and he infinitely loves you. And Jesus, God with skin on, calls you and me to follow him. Wow!
Jesus is the Caller.
In essence, Jesus is popping the question. Will you marry me? Will you live in covenant with me? Will you give your life to me? Will you spend your life with me? Sickness or health? It is a question to think about. He is not looking to have a fling. He isn’t into dating you and then ditch you because of irreconcilable difference. He’s into you for life.
I think back on my relationship with Sarah. We’ve known each other for 18 years, but 12 years ago we began dating. I was curious about everything from the food she liked, to her favorite music and hobbies, and I’d happily stay up late talking on the phone to learn everything I could about her. After about a year I became convinced that she was the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life. It has been almost 10 years since we walked an aisle and spoke vows to each other. Those words held a lot of weight and demonstrated our commitment to each other. They still do. Those commitments would be tested.
The stages of a growing relationship aren’t linear though. We don’t move from one stage to another in order and the previous ones pass away. In a healthy relationship all three are happening together. We must never cease to lose curiosity. We must never forget why we became convinced that we wanted to give ourselves for the one we love. And we must renew our commitment daily.
So it is with our relationship with Jesus. Interestingly, he made the first call. He took the initiative. He has proven his love. He showed that he is into the small and big things of your life. And he delights in you.
If Jesus calls you listen.
To ignore Jesus invitation is rebellion. Rebellion is the essence of sin. Sin says, “I will do what I want. I will listen to no one. I call the shots. I will not follow. I’m just not that into you. I’d rather be single.”
You are either drawn to Jesus or you are repelled by Jesus. All throughout Matthew he shows the contrast between the disciples who are drawn to follow Jesus and the Pharisees who are repelled and reject Jesus. The contrast between the rebels and followers is seen best in Matthew 9:9-13, which is also Matthew’s autobiography:
“(Jesus) saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and He said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose (left everything) and followed Him. And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and His (followers). And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to His followers, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when He heard it, He said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
There is a lot to say there about Jesus, but what I want to focus on is what Jesus focuses on.
Jesus sees you.
Most people wouldn’t even make eye contact with a taxman out of fear of having to cough up some coins. Matthew’s identity is his job title. It wasn’t a title to brag about as it was one of the most hated of professions. It would be like saying he is a dentist, parking warden, telemarketer, or debt collector today. However, Jesus connects with Matthew. He calls Matthew. Jesus didn’t care about Matthew’s title. He gave him a new one.
Jesus sees ordinary people. People with labels and reputations. He doesn’t care about peoples titles. He cares about people. He cares about you. He sees you mess and all. He invites you. He cares about everything—that you leave everything—because he makes everything in your life different. And He gives you a new title. Think of some the new titles he gives. It can be life-changing to be called a son/daughter to one with imperfect parents, beloved to one with a sour marriage, or treasure to one who feels like a peanut rather than a precious stone.
To Jesus you are seen. You exist. And He calls you to follow.