But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. (Mat 9:12 ESV)
I used to teach music, especially piano. There were students I always looked forward to and those that, well, I didn’t. The difference? A motivated student versus a motivated parent. Some students came because they wanted to be there. Others were there because they had to be there…or else. The self-motivated student came prepared and eager to learn. The student with a motivated parent was usually not prepared, hadn’t practiced and for me it seemed a waste of time and parent’s money.
It’s hard to help someone who doesn’t want your help.
As Matthew, the former tax collector, writes about his own calling and early days with Jesus, he remembers the details of a dinner. Maybe as the word spread about Matthew’s new vocation, friends and family gathered to see who this Jesus was. There was a combination of peers and curious seekers there with Matthew but the religious folks were on spy alert. Why was Jesus hanging out with that gang? If He’s really who He claims to be, you’d think He would rather be hanging with us.
Jesus’ response? Only sick people need a doctor. In other words, “It’s harder to help someone who doesn’t want your help.”
I’m sometimes surprised at the people who say “Yes” to Jesus. I shouldn’t be, but I am. When you see a nice average family who appears to have a good marriage and beautiful kids, it’s tempting to think, “Now that’s a family who would make good Christians.” But it’s often harder to help such a family see their need of Christ. The well don’t need a physician. Instead, often the most fruitfulness comes from the “most unlikely to be a Christian” type.
Why am I telling you this? Don’t write off someone because they seem far from God. It’s often those who are sick of life, hurt, dysfunctional or downright mean, who are closest to the kingdom! They are the ones who find Jesus interesting and who want to hang out with Him.
Like me, you probably have a list of people you are praying for to receive Christ, to come to Jesus and find life “because they would make great Christians.” Don’t stop praying. But maybe add a few to that list whom you think are surely far from the kingdom. There just may be another Matthew waiting in the wings who is willing to forsake his old life to embrace a new adventure with Jesus.
PRAYER: Father, You don’t look at people the way I do. You look at the heart. You know those who are the most teachable. Reveal the hearts around me that are truly sick and are looking for a Savior. [Now, wait for a moment and see what names or faces the Holy Spirit brings before you. Pray for them to receive the gospel and turn to Jesus.]