All it takes is a picture on a social media feed. That friend, you know the one, that friend doing what they want when they want it. The one mired in addiction, violence, anger and frustration. You’re thumbing through and, wouldn’t you know it, they just picked up the new car you’ve wanted for a year now.
That girl who bullied you in high school and, somehow, found her way into a modeling contract and moved out west to an amateur film role where, for eight seconds, she’s in a crowd behind Will Smith.
That guy at the gym showing everyone pictures of his weekend conquests when the idea of a date grips your soul in fear and anxiety.
And we look and we say, okay, when will it be our turn? When will life finally even out?
In the Bible, Jesus spots Matthew (one of my favorite stories, I know, I’m a nerd) at the table working his job as a tax collector. At the time, tax collectors were despised. They worked for the Roman government, traitors to their neighbors and friends. Who likes the guy knocking on the door for the bills?
Jesus tells Matthew to follow and he does. That night, Jesus eats dinner at his house with, we read, “sinners.”
He is asked why he eats with sinners and he replies:.
For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.
Something can happen to us when we decide to follow Jesus and we’re not careful. We forget where we’ve come from. We pick up the mantle and stand a little higher as we look and the uneven scale burns. The plank in our eye fades as we point to others and tell God, see, see what they do and they get rewarded.
It is the peril of living without a 50,000 foot view.
Because the weekend conquests don’t matter. The car breaks down. Money, looks, success can fade. Time passes.
Grace matters. Eternity matters. Giving and hope, love and the beauty of creation, matters. Reaching out matters. Reflecting the hope you have inside, matters.
It isn’t easy to play the game of life for the long goals, but it is our requirement as those who follow Jesus. It is our investment in those around us. It is more than the “property gospel” trumpeted by those making millions as “preachers.” It is showing someone that they matter on a daily basis.
It is remembering that we are sinners, won by grace, so that none can boast.
The easiest way to lose weight tonight? Throw away the scale and wake up lighter tomorrow.