If there's one thing that the last twenty one years of living have taught me it's this: Jesus can seriously mess up your life.
I'm preaching again this week and this is the Gospel passage I'm using. How many times have I read this section of scripture before? Yet something new struck me today. The passage begins with this phrase..."As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man..." Making it sound every bit as though Jesus isn't thinking in advance about what he's about to do.
Maybe this is a bit fanciful, but it does fit with my experience of the way Jesus has put the moves on me. I imagine something like this... Jesus is walking along with some people sort of loosely seeming to following him and not knowing what to expect because you never can tell with this fellow. Jesus, well aware of those around him (the passage doesn't tell us that he's walking with other disciples--maybe, maybe not) spies Matthew (or Levi) the evil tax collector. "Hmmm..." Jesus says to himself. Then, quickly and subtly turning aside to the others, he whispers, "Watch this!" before turning to Levi Matthews (ancient ancester of Dave) and saying, "Follow me."
Some of those close by Jesus can feel the belly laughter making its way up to their voice boxes. Before they can even snort, Levi gets up (!!) nearly overturning the table in the process. Coins scatter on the ground. Jesus turns back to the others, smiling. Did he just wink?
Was Matthew's calling a 'crime' of opportunity? Was mine? It feels like it sometimes. The disciples said, later on that they had all left everything to follow Jesus. I can only imagine the varieties of 'everything' they left. I know what I left and it was significant enough that there are days when I wonder...
Anyway, if you see Jesus coming you'd better be careful, cause like I said, he will seriously mess up your life.