Calling of St Matthew

“Calling of St Matthew” by Caravaggio

The opening chapter of Mark has a story about Jesus calling the first disciples.  He told them plainly, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”  We are told by Mark that they left everything (including the family business) and followed him.  Levi was also called in a similar manner, and he left his tax business to follow Jesus.  The haunting image, for me, in these passages is that they left everything to follow Jesus, no questions asked.  Pretty drastic, don’t you think?

I will let you discern what those passages might look like for people in the 21st Century context, since that is not the aim of this post.  Instead, the immediacy and decisive nature of their action was what caught my eye.  Being a disciple of Jesus means that we must be faithful to him, to follow him even if he calls us out of our present situation.  Being a disciple means that we pursue him, even though it might mean that we leave a comfortable life.

Count Zinzendorf once stated that Christians are to “preach the gospel, die and be forgotten.”  I must admit, I recoiled when I first heard this quote a couple of years ago; however, when I started to chew on this abrasive suggestion, it made me confront the reality of my heightened sense of my own self importance.  What mattered in life was the life-giving truth that Jesus came to restore creation and reconcile broken humanity to God.

As I have mentioned elsewhere, Seth Godin’s “Tribes” helped frame this matter.  We are all leaders of a band, some have large influences while others have a small circle.  As Matthew would show elsewhere, we are responsible for what God has given to us, whether it is large or small.  Nevertheless, our faithfulness to that circle of influence and ministry will be rewarded.  Those with large influences will be required much, and those with smaller influences will still be required proportionately.  The Lord wants us to build for the Kingdom of God, and I am confident that he is faithful and will give a reward to all those who are diligent.  As explored in more detail in my post Gandalf in the Sky, God is not harsh and he will reward those who are faithful, even in the small things.  He will preserve our life and work for the Kingdom.  He is faithful and just.