Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Calling

The Calling of St. Matthew- Carvaggio
I absolutely love this painting. In it we see an ordinary setting of tax collectors gathered together at a table, and Matthew seems very much wrapped up in his work. Yet in the midst of a mundane situation in steps the divine. The ordinary life is interrupted by the miraculous and in one instant a life is transformed. When I look at this picture one question sums it up, "Who him?" That phrase has echoed in my mind before. I admit and am ashamed to say that there have been times in my life when I looked at someone who seems so hopeless that for a split second I think, "Who, him? I don't think he will ever come to know God." How foolish of me to even think such a thing because God's heart is that none would perish but that all may have eternal life.

Last Monday I went out for coffee with a friend of mine and ever since our conversation my heart has been burdened and convicted regarding the topic of evangelism. I remember back in high school and at an even younger age I took every opportunity to talk to those around me about Jesus and now sadly it rarely enters my mind. I am too wrapped up in life and the things I need to to do to check off my list. I need to get my grocery shopping done, and make sure my apartment is clean. All of these things are important in one aspect or another but they pale in comparison to the value of a person's soul.

There was one day when I was in high school that I remember just sitting on a bench in the middle of the mall. As I sat there I just took time to watch people as they walked by. I watched there eyes and the looks on their faces and I saw emptiness and hopelessness. My heart broke and it stirred a passion in me to tell others of the grace and hope found in Christ.

This painting also makes me think of the way I often feel when I think about taking on the responsibility of sharing the gospel with those who have yet to accept Christ. I have a funny feeling that I am not the only one who thinks these same questions. "Who me? I am just a young believer who doesn't know all there is to know about evangelism. I can't possibly have all the answers to their questions. What if I look stupid? What if I am rejected?" In the end none of these questions or excuses matter because it is not at all about me. In scripture it is clear that those who have not put their faith in Christ are subject to God's judgement (John 3:16-18, Romans 6:23) . How can we with a clear conscience choose to keep this truth to ourselves? Do we truly love our friends, family, neighbors etc?

So here I am, with the knowledge of the sacrificial life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and now what? Well I have decided to listen to sermons, read books (especially the Bible) and memorize verses that will equip me to better share my faith. However even more importantly I've decided to pray and ask the Lord to move in my heart. Until my heart is broken and hurting so strongly for the lost I will not be compelled to go and tell others.

So I guess I'm praying a dangerous prayer that will begin to challenge me in ways I never imagined. I am so frail and too often I long for the praises and admiration of others. God will need to change my heart and rearrange my priorities. Honestly I am scared to let Him have his way because I know what that means for me. I will have to be willing to be pulled out of my comfort zone.

Despite my fear and insecurities I can't help but think back to the times in my life when I was actively sharing my faith and how different things were. My life was so vibrant and my faith was so real because I was obeying the Lord's calling on my life. I want to allow the Lord to change me and begin a new and exciting work in my life but a lot of things are holding me back. I can't possibly make this passion come alive in my heart again without the Lord's hand working in my life. So...we'll see what happens.

"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" -Romans 10:14-15

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