Lenten Devotional 2021: Day 7

Tuesday, February 23 – Written by May Hutzel

Possibilities and Purpose  – Mark 2:13-17

Photo Credit: Mary Beth Wallace
When I think of Jesus calling his disciples, my mind usually takes me to the sea side where Jesus called four fishermen to follow him so that he could make them ‘fishers of men’. I think it is important, though, for all of us to be reminded of Matthew’s call to follow him as well. Once again, Jesus bucks the status quo and he invites a tax collector to follow him. In those days, Jewish tax collectors were generally despised by their own people for cheating and for collaborating with the Roman occupation. In our passage, Pharisees also question why Jesus would associate with and eat dinner at Matthew’s house with tax collectors and sinners. In his defense, Jesus answered that he had come for the benefit of sinners.
To my mind, I love the fact that Jesus wasn’t ruling anybody out of the scope or benefit of his ministry. In fact, where others saw only negative qualities, Jesus focused on their possibilities and purpose.  Jesus had a vision for Matthew and his other disciples just as he holds a vision for all of us today. I’m sure that Jesus was able to use the skills that Matthew had before being called as well as those he would develop during his discipleship. Who, other than Jesus, would have ever thought that this very man would author the first of the four Gospels?
In my own life as well, I never expected to experience a personal call to follow Jesus. Little did I know that he would recognize my possibilities and purpose long before I ever did! Even now, I still wonder at all of the ways he prepared and equipped me to be a Stephen Minister. I also praise God for so many other members of our faith family who faithfully serve Jesus – be it on the Food Bank, Hospitality, Pastoral Care, Refuge Support or one of the teams formed to educate and guide us about equality and human rights. The list goes on and on to include Trustees, lay leaders, committee members, our musicians, devotional writers, scripture readers, etc., etc.  In truth, some of these individuals may not have thought about it, but each one has answered the call to follow Jesus in their own way – just as Matthew did. Thanks be to God.
Prayer: Loving and Gracious God: Thank you for blessing each one of us with possibilities and purpose. Inspire us to use our gifts and abilities to answer Christ’s call. Amen