(Today's post by Tim David)
Back in the day…I’m talking straight up 80’s…one of the worse positions a 9 year old could find himself in was being picked last in ANY sport that involved 2 “team” captains. Let’s face it, those weren’t “teams.” They were two social groups that determined your place in elementary school and could cast a stigma on you that couldn’t be erased until Junior High. No one wanted to be the last and hear the two captains arguing openly on who was going to be stuck with your poor soul. Hold on, just to correct the record – that wasn’t me – I was always chosen to be on a team. Hey, let me tell you, it felt great to be chosen. Someone put enough value in my social standing and ability with a round, rubber ball to choose me in front of witnesses to be part of their team. Instantly there was some sort of insane loyalty blindly bestowed on the team captain.
There is a ton to unpack from this assignment, but I want to focus on the beginning – the call of Matthew. Nobody, and I mean nobody, would have ever thought of Matthew as being part of their team. Why, you might ask…well I’m glad you did…he was a tax collector. Look, tax collectors back then were hated way more than any IRS agent today. The position of tax collector meant you betrayed your own countryman. A tax-collector had to “buy” their position from Rome. They would collect the Roman tax and then add whatever they wanted as a profit. There was no set amount – there was no rhyme or reason. This guy got to charge whatever he wanted to…from other Jews. Let’s remember – he is stealing from his own countrymen while their country is under Roman rule…and he paid for the right to do this. He was the very last guy you ever wanted to “bump” into, much less travel around with. Yet God walks up to this despicable thief and says, “Follow Me.” Tearfully, I imagine how Matthew must have felt at that moment. Jesus chose him. Jesus put enough value on his miserable life to single him out from all of the other more popular, socially-acceptable, righteous choices. At that moment nothing else mattered. Matthew just left. He left wealth…he left investment…he left his despicable life to follow – the Son of God.
There are times on this ocean of life when I begin to wonder – Does Christ even care about me?
Judy and I were just talking about this last night…if we mattered to Christ, then why did He not prevent two little, innocent babies from dying before ever taking a breath of air? Why did He not answer the fervent, earnest, faith-filled prayers of a seven year old? Did God call us to this life, giving us hope…just to ignore us when we needed Him?
Honestly, I don’t have answers to a lot of the questions that come to mind, but I’m okay with that. As low as Judy and I have felt, we’ve seen God work in ways prayed for and not even realized. I can’t tell you why God chose you and then has allowed you to go down the path you’ve gone. It seems as though some paths are pretty easy and others are extremely difficult. To our eyes it appears as though He must put a greater value in those who seemingly have an easier path…but we were ALL chosen. There is no one with greater value in Heaven than you. If you were the only one who needed redemption, Christ would have still died on the cross for you! That is how important YOU are!