Hello blog readers (all 13 of you followers) and anyone who happens to find this page!
General Life Update
It’s been nearly two months since I have posted and so much has happened: I moved to New York City (haven’t been hit crossing the cross walk…yet…), began law school (and survived my first cold call!), started a business (Summer Storm Fashions, check it out!), and started attending a Presbyterian Church (where they use REAL WINE during communion…Did you know that was a thing? Me neither…). Needless to say, life has been crazy and hectic and exhilarating and <insert exciting synonym here>
New City, New Church
New York City is much different than Arkansas, to say the least: the social mannerisms are different (no ma’ams here), the lingos are different, morals are different…everything is just different. It’s been overwhelming lonely at times, but I’m thankful to have gotten involved with an awesome study group and connected with a stellar church community that shares my desire to put my faith into action and my belief that Christ calls us to serve the least of these. Some of you may have heard of the church before, it’s Redeemer Presbyterian, and was founded by Tim Keller. If you ever get a chance to check out his books, please do. For the first time in my life I’m attending a church where it’s the norm to have a master degree. Every person I’ve met at Redeemer so far is in a graduate program or already has a doctorate. It’s just much different than what I’m used to: the discussions are different, the views are different. However, I’ve really enjoyed having great American writers and classical philosophers added to our sermons. Do these philosophers thoughts have equal weight as the Bible? ABSOLUTELY NOT! But, I believe God gave us brains to think and I think we can learn a lot. These experience coincide with Part 2 of my series: God Loves Lawyers.
As Jesus was walking along, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him. Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?” When Jesus heard this, He said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor–sick people do.” Then He added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: “I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices. For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”~Matthew 9:9-13
You Don’t Need to Give Up Your Non-Christian Friends
In my last post I explained that God does not requires us to give up our “worldly” God given talents when we become a Christian. Instead, we need to stop using those talents to serve sinful purposes and instead use them to serve Godly purposes. In this post I’m going to talk about how Matthew not only followed Christ, but brought Christ, quite literally, to people who may not have met him any other way.
In the second part of Matthew’s account above, Matthew brings Jesus, literally, to dinner at a tax collectors house. Now, keep in mind that these men were not your average accountants. These men were forcing Jews to pay high taxes to the government that was 1) invading their land 2) oppressing them and 3) torturing their people. Would Jews want to pay taxes to these people? No. Not only that, but tax collectors would charge extra to pocket money for themselves. Imagine then how despised the tax collectors were!
It says that “Matthew invited Jesus and His disciples into his home, along with other tax collectors and disreputable sinners.” This verse is SO IMPORTANT, y’all. If, when Matthew became a Christian, he began to act like he was better than his fellow tax collects, turned his nose in the air and refused to associate with his previous co-workers they probably would not have come to dinner. Therefore, we can deduce from the text that Matthew was still associating with them in some way, or, that he hadn’t done anything to cause them to not want to associate him anymore.
This is such a large implication for our own lives. When we become Christians we’re not called to reject all of our non-Christian friends. Sure, if being around them always involves sinning we can’t do that. But we can’t reject them as people. We can set appropriate boundaries that tell our friends and neighbors that we love them, we just won’t participate in activities X Y or Z. This does not mean you can’t hang out with them in other contexts. We may be the only Christians they know, and the only “Matthew” in their life: someone that can bring Christ to them.
Be a Matthew
I only know two other Christians here at my law school, and my entering class is 350. Sure, there’s probably more, but not a lot. The non-believers I’m living with and interacting with are watching. I have the opportunity to love them, live out my faith, and share the gospel with them. Don’t just be friends with people to evangelize them! They’ll know what you’re trying to do and you will considered unauthentic. Instead, seek out people with common interests. If they’re already a Christian, awesome, encourage each other! If not, don’t brush these people off! Continue to build a friendship with them because you have common interests and share the gospel along the way.
Who are the Pharisees in Your Life
Jesus was criticized A LOT by the pharisees (religious leaders). Here, he was criticized for associating with sinners. No doubt, if you make an effort to be friends with non-Christians you’ll most likely be criticized, I know I am! You can, as I said, set appropriate boundaries. Now, if being friends with someone continually puts you in a situation where you’re tempted or sin (say your friends want to do drugs or have sex with you, and do not respect your wishes not do participate) that’s a problem. They’re not being a good friend to YOU. Friendship never requires you to be a doormate, if you’re in a “friendship” that is asking this of you, it’s abusive and unhealthy.
How have you been a “Matthew” to the people God has placed in your life? How can you be a “Matthew” in the future?
As always, if I can be praying for YOU or encourage YOU in anyway, comment or connect with me on social media.