McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
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"Follow Me" Wasn't Just For The Perfect
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By Corey Landreth
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Dec. 5, 2013 11:23 a.m.

I had the opportunity to have lunch with a large number of inmates from the minimum security facility in Winfield the other day. It was the first time for me and I really enjoyed it. The two men sitting at the table with me, Danny and Jim, as I recall had a lot of questions about church and especially Real Life. I suppose it was the beanie I was wearing and the beard and long hair but they seemed to be pretty comfortable with me. One of them, after the meal was over and we were all getting ready to leave told me that he got out in five months and that I shouldn't be surprised if I saw him in church. "I'd like to come and see" he told me.
I was reminded of that lunch as I read Matthew 9:9 this morning. It's the story of how Matthew came to be a disciple of Jesus and follow Him. What I noticed was something that I don't recall seeing with any of the other disciples.
The verse just reads, As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth and He said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him.
Jesus called Peter and Andrew, James and John out of their boats, while they were working. He called Nathaniel from under the tree where he was resting. He called others from various places but He called Matthew while he was "sitting" in his sin.
Matthew was a tax collector. Sold out to the occupying colonist Romans he was hated by the rest of the Jewish population as a traitor. And was most likely extorting money from his fellow Jews. He was greedy and was taking from his fellow man, something the Jewish Law forbid.
But Jesus calls him. right there where he sat. Actively engaged in his sin. Jesus calls him, "Follow me."
This is one reason I love Jesus. He didn't look for the brightest, or best, he called people from where they were, whether working the nets after a night of fishing or taking money from for the Romans. Jesus is more interested in your future than in your past or even your present. What this tells me is that my past AND my present position do not indicate my future usefulness to God's Kingdom. God can call people in the midst of their sin into a life of faith, adventure and trust.
And one of the great things about God's call on the lives of those in the midst of their sin comes in verse 10. Jesus went to Matthew's house and ate with him and others. He didn't wait until Matthew had gotten his life completely together, that day, that hour he went to his home and ate a meal. And lots of other tax collectors and "sinners" were there too!
Why does God call people in the midst of their sin? Because they are the greatest witness and testimony to their friends and colleagues who are also involved in that sin. Jesus came to many tax collects and sinners that day because He came to one, still in his sin, who said, "Okay" when Jesus called out to him from the midst of his sin, "Follow me."
No matter what you're into right now Jesus is placing the same call on your life, "Follow me." How will you respond?

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