Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018. What is the driving force in my life? What is it that I would say: that is important for me? What is it that is the backbone of my days and my activity? What is holding me upright? What is attracting me? What is giving me self confidence? What is it I am following? What is it I am searching?
Matthew, Come! …
It is a good question to think about the points which make me really happy. What is it that I could say about: that fills my life? That gives me purpose? Is there anything like that? Or perhaps there are several things? Perhaps I like good wine, good political discussions, and to be secure and save? Or I like to be successful and full of energy, a driving force myself? Or I am myself when I am free and not depending on anyone?
When we look into the New Testament, we find some passages which touch this quite central question. Whom am I following. In the Gospel of Matthew we suddenly run into the following remark:
As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. (Matthew 9, 9)
You should look up the passage - this request of Jesus to follow is not directly linked to the parts given before. It seems to come out of nowhere! That is an important question, we should ask here: what is the framework for getting to know God? When is it we are prepared to follow Jesus?
Why and How? …
Why would you follow Jesus at all? Why would you follow anyone? Sometimes it seems to us that following individual people on this earth only happens in circumstances of abuse! And it is a good point, a sincere warning. You should have good reasons to follow any particular person on this planet!
But there is also the other question. What is it that keeps you from following Jesus? Today it is clear that he is not any more someone who could abuse you. He died 2000 years ago, and if you follow him, if it is true you follow the risen Lord. In the worst case you follow an illusion.
So the point I am heading for here is: you should have good reasons to follow Jesus. You should be clearly aware of why you want to follow him. If it has become clear to you, that he is more than a gifted speaker who lived long ago, you have started to explore good reasons. Yet, it still needs to be very clear to you: he is the one who I want to be with.
How do you follow him today? To a good extent it is easier than for Matthew: you can stay in your profession and in your job, at least that applies to most of us. But on the spiritual side, it is quite similar. It is about discovering that only God can be the foundation of our life, that only his beauty and purity, his mercy and love, his truth and clarity, are a good basis for our decisions, for our heart, for our own love, for our presence and future. Only in him, in his power and foregiveness, we have a source for cleaning up our own life!
How to follow? It starts with your personal prayer. It is something between you and God. You have to tell him. You have to talk to him, and to listen to him. It is you and you alone. And of course, there is community - the community of believers, the Christian church. There are brothers and sisters in faith, so many of them, very different individuals. God will show you some you can link up with, I am sure! (Roland Potthast) ... further texts