Monday, September 9, 2013

What in the World Happened to You?

This picture has earned the coveted place on the "Bottom" door of our refrigerator.

Let me explain the principle of the "Two Doors" of refrigerator artwork that exists in our household.

The top door is for random creations and color sheets and to be honest this one is filled constantly because this is where Dad's eye level is and this is where most of the artwork lands.

There is another door though and this one takes effort on the part of Daddy to be seen. The bottom door is for artwork that has a specific meaning to it. If you create a picture and can tell me what this picture means to you and what you want others to learn from it, this is where it hangs! I will make the effort to see what you see because I love to see how art speaks back to the one who created it.

My four year old daughter drew this lovely piece of art and she came to show me and explain what it meant to her and when she did I knew that there was only one place for this to go.

In the simplest of terms, my four year old daughter explained her creation this way:

"Well, it started with a cross Daddy", she pointed out as she brushed the hair away from her gentle face. "Jesus was God's son and they made Him die on the cross with nails in his hands and sharp sticks in his hair."

"Then they put Him in a rock house with a heavy door and all of His mommies and friends were sad." She continued and pointed to the "Rock House" that had three splotches of red crayon on the side to represent Jesus blood.

" Then after three days, Jesus got up and went to heaven!" She exclaimed. Oddly enough, this seems to be the most reported part of the story in most churches. She kept explaining though, "Then His Spirit came down to live in us so we can live like Jesus."

Simple, yet to the point!

I saw something similar in the book of Matthew the next morning that drove home the simplicity of sharing life with others. You just tell them what happened to you and let the Holy Spirit do the work!

There is a lot of stuff that takes place in the book of Matthew, and from his perspective, this Jesus changes the landscape of everything in the land of status quoi.

Matthew presents Jesus to us through the lens of a "King" bringing His "Kingdom" to us and as you read this gospel you cannot help but see how Jesus carried Himself among us, who up until this time, had no idea what His kingdom really was.

In the first nine chapters of Matthew we find:
The Genealogy and the Birth of Christ. Ch.1
The baptism of Jesus. Ch.2:13
The temptation of Christ. Ch. 4:1-17
The calling of the disciples. Ch. 4:18-25
The Beatitudes. Ch.5-7
A leper healed. Ch. 8:1-4
A centurion's servant healed. Ch. 8:5-13
Peter's mother-in-law healed. Ch.8:14-17
The truth about following Christ revealed. Ch. 8:18-22
The sea is calmed. Ch. 8:23-27
The demon possessed man is delivered. Ch. 8:28-34
The paralyzed man is healed. Ch. 9:1-8
A man's past wounds and emotional scars are healed. Ch. 9:1-8
Life is extended. Ch. 9:10-17
Life is restored. Ch. 9:18-25
Sight is restored. Ch. 9:27-34



I have often wondered why this account of Matthew's calling was listed in this way.

And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him." ~Matthew 9:9Did you read that???

Let me underscore it because I missed it the first time too!

And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him." ~Matthew 9:9

Jesus saw Matthew. So? He saw everyone right?

Matthew was the son of Levi. Historians and biblical scholars tell us that Matthew was of Levite ancestry. The Levites were the tribe of Israel that were not to own property because they were to be God's ministers in the sacrifices of the tabernacles and the temple. It was the custom and duty of a male child born into the tribe of Levi to become a rabbi and fulfill those requirements. The only way to not do this was to fail the tests of the priests or just decide to walk away from your lineage. Why would someone do that?

If it was the first of these two theories than I can understand. The tests that these young boys were given before they could be approached by a Rabbi to be mentored were unbelievably difficult and the work was tedious to say the least. It makes it so powerful because you could not approach a Rabbi to request mentoring, they looked at your scores and chose you. Here he sat in a despised position and The Rabbi approaches him and says, "Follow me!"

If it was the second of the two theories than it would be equally as powerful.We may find a clue in the book of the Bible he would later write. The word "hypocrites" appears more times in Matthew (twelve) than it does anywhere else in the Bible. Perhaps he saw so many people who were hypocrites -- people that said they loved God but proved otherwise by their actions -- that he decided he was finished with God.

Jesus came to show us the Father. The Father sees you and He sees me right now today!

Did you know that He knows exactly what it is that has caused you hurt last week?

He approaches us in the very place of pain and wounding to allow us to see with our own heart that He wants us just as we are. He wants us to be in His presence.

Be it a wound, pain, wrongdoing, injustice, quiet word, or even this blog post today. He is reaching out to you in a voice that is beyond audible to say, "I love you, and I am well aware of you and I want to be part of your life!" He is waiting to introduce Himself to you or reveal a better view of Himself to you, even through an allowed circumstance that causes you to look up out of desperation.

Matthew's need of restoration was just as large as the paralyzed man just before and the sick and blind that are mentioned just after. Maybe that explains why his calling was sandwiched in between these events.

Matthew wanted it on the record that his life was just as changed.

Sometimes people get a little bit nervous at the idea of "Sharing their faith" with the people that God brings across their path but it really is not that difficult.

Truly "Sharing your faith" is NOT going out for an hour each week and distributing printed advertisements for your church with a "How to get to heaven" slipped in on the back.
Inviting people to church is not bad so please don't stone me here. You grow a business by advertising. I get that.

Sharing your faith is not something that you "schedule" as part of your Saturday. It is something that you are. It is something that you look at in the impact of importance that it had on you and it cannot help but come out.

It is seeing what happened to you just as powerful as a paralyzed man forgiven and healed!

Matthew's calling was intensely personal to him.

What has Christ done for and to you and how did He touch you?

What does the empty "House in a rock" now signified in the workings of your life?

On what door of the refrigerator would you hang your conversion story?

When you can look at what He did in your life and see how He came to you, it changes everything about the way that you see Him, and present Him to everyone that you come in personal contact with!

Can it really be that simple?

Climbing with you,

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