Do you ever get anxious that you’re not as productive as you ought to be? Whether it’s our physical work, our personal ministry and service to God, or our own spiritual growth, there’s something in our human nature that continually strives. We really have a hard time with resting, or just being at peace.
As I read through the gospels, I’m reminded that Jesus never seemed anxious or tense about the work He came to do. He never seems in a hurry. Would this be your attitude if your mission was to save the world, and you only had three years to do it?
Jesus’ pattern of ministry was to go where the Spirit of God led Him, continually teaching, preaching, healing, comforting, and bringing both physical life and the message of spiritual life to the people He encountered along the way. As He obeyed His Father, guided by the Holy Spirit, He met everyone He was supposed to, at just the right time, in just the right circumstance, and delivered the message of the kingdom of God in just the right way. And most importantly, He never hid who He was or why He came. In every situation, He declared Himself to be the Son of God both in His words and His power over the physical and spiritual world.
The encounter with Levi (whom we know as Matthew, the author of the first gospel) is a good example.
Mark 2:14 – As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting in the tax booth, and He said to him, “Follow Me!” And he got up and followed Him.
In His sovereign plan for Matthew, God orchestrated an invitation to join Jesus, and he responded. We don’t know exactly what went through Matthew’s mind at that moment, but evidently, in just a few seconds, he evaluated his current life and compared it with the offer Jesus made and acted. He walked away from his career, his salary, and his old way of life, in exchange for a life of faith – saying “Yes!” to this Man who he knew little about but was inexplicably drawn to as God tugged on His heart.
We know something supernatural happened in Matthew’s heart, for in the very next verse he’s hosting a big gathering with all his co-workers and friends who were interested in hearing what had changed him. These were seekers – people who perhaps weren’t committed to Jesus yet but were curious enough to want to listen.
Mark 2:15 – And it happened that He was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax collectors and sinners were dining with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many of them, and they were following Him.
I often hear this verse quoted to justify hanging out with immoral people doing ungodly things or staying in a relationship with an unsaved person under the guise of sharing the gospel. It was called “missionary dating” when I was younger! But that’s not what Jesus was doing. He was sharing a meal in the home of a new follower who had invited his friends to meet Jesus. This was another Holy Spirit-orchestrated opportunity to preach the kingdom of God to people who were open to hearing the message.
Of course, the scribes and Pharisees were critical (Matthew 2:16). Bound up in their self-righteousness, they had no compassion for those in need of a Savior. Jesus exposed their hearts as He reminded them the healthy do not need a physician, but only those who recognize they are sick.
God gives most of us far more than three short years to accomplish His purposes during our pre-ordained lifespan. How will we ever get it all done?
We need to live like Jesus.
- We must determine to obey God in everything He asks.
- We must listen to the Holy Spirit as He speaks through the Word of God.
- We must see every encounter as an opportunity to proclaim the kingdom of God.
- We must not hide our faith, but boldly proclaim ourselves as followers of Jesus.
- We must trust God to direct our steps, confidently resting in the knowledge that He will get us to the right place, at the right time, with the right words and actions to accomplish.
If we live like Jesus, we will complete our mission, just like Jesus did. It starts with saying “yes” like Matthew, and ends when the Father says, “Welcome home.”
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