Our reading today comes from Matthew, chapter 9:
What a revelation I had this morning. After reading this passage I began just to meditate on it, letting it sink into my heart. I began talking with God about what it meant for my life, and that is when the hammer hit me on the head. God is funny like that. He flings a zinger at you in the least expected moment.
I was particularly drawn to the story about Jesus eating with the sinners and how the Pharisees thought badly of him for it. He replied, that He had come for the sick, THOSE WHO KNEW THEY WERE SICK. I spent a great deal of time thinking about our society in general. There are those that know their own need: the sick, the poor, the homeless. But I was struck by the thought that most of us are like the Pharisees, we don’t see our own need, our own sickness.
What a needy world we live in, filled with immorality, greed, self-centeredness, idolatry. We worship our jobs, our bank accounts, our children’s achievements, entertainment – you name it- anything but God Almighty. Yes we are a sick society indeed. But most of us aren’t aware of our deep need for renewal.
Which led me to the later part of the chapter where Jesus looked at the people and was filled with compassion because they were wandering around like clueless sheep in need of a shepherd. He pleaded with the Father for more workers, for harvesters that could lead these pitiful people to Christ. The world needs strong, spiritual leaders with a heart for the lost.
“Yes Lord, I see it! I see that I am called to be one of the harvesters, one of the righteous that lead these clueless people to Your saving grace!” I see the message for me here. And it makes sense to me. I love helping people to deepen their relationships with Jesus. It is what I am called to do. That is a good word, Lord. I guess I am done for the day.
Then He startled me. I heard a voice speaking deeply into my soul say, “I have compassion for you too.” For me? What does that mean? And then the realization began washing over me in waves. I am sick. I am one in need of saving grace. I am not righteous, I am ridiculous – just like the Pharisees.
Upon reflection, he revealed to me that I am sick in so many different ways. But right now, I have a serious problem going on. JEALOUSY. It’s hard to admit, but it is true. It is almost as if he showed me a picture of my own heart and instead of being all red (with love) there was this big chunk of green right in the middle of it. And I hadn’t really noticed it until today.
I have a good friend, whom I love very much. And this person has accomplished something that I have wanted to do for many years. But it hasn’t really worked out for me. And I watch her being super successful, and I am so happy for her. I wish her all the success this world can offer. I rejoice with her (honestly.)
But there is this little (but obviously growing) part of me that says, “Why not me, Lord?” I would be faithful to Him, and work to give Him all the glory. So why not me? “Haven’t I worked hard enough for You all these years to earn an opportunity like this?” This has been in the back of my mind for several months, and growing stronger day by day. And I have been unaware of how much brain space and soul space it has taken up within me.
It seems that I have heard these words before. Pharisees maybe? An older brother perhaps?? Wow. I really am sick…
How thankful I am that He looks at me with compassion and not contempt. How thankful I am that He is willing to point these things out so that I can be made well. I guess I am just like the rest of this broken society, wandering around like a blind and clueless sheep. There goes my inflated self-image for today…
Forgive me for questioning Your plan for my life. Forgive me for my condescending attitude toward others. You make it perfectly clear that I am broken just like everyone else. How thankful I am that You are a reconciling and renewing Savior. Please remove anything in my heart that offends You. Fill me with a peace and contentment for the life You have given me. And prepare me to be a harvester in this world, all for Your eternal glory.
In the name of my Savior I pray,