The “Circle”

Luke 5:27-28And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. And he left all, rose up, and followed him.”

It is interesting to observe people; how they act and interact with others. Those with whom they accept readily and who they keep at a distance.

Often, we are lazy in this area.

We gather and fellowship with those that are like us; those that accept us; those that appreciate us. It is easy for us to like them because they like us.

When we meet, and fellowship with those regularly, we become familiar, accepting of each other’s faults, and it becomes a mutual appreciation.

Sometimes, there are those who try to press in wanting to be a part. At first, they seem odd, quirky, and different. We keep them at arm’s length because we don’t want to appear unkind or unchristian.

Within our ‘circle,’ we look down on them. Our conversation might turn to comments about that one; how they talk, how they dress, who they hang around and maybe even poke fun.

We all have our ‘circle’. Without dipping to deeply into a study of sociology, let us look at our example – Jesus Christ.

In reading Luke chapters 5-6, I saw some exciting things.

He calls to Himself the first of the apostles; Peter, James, and John – fishermen. A noble profession. These men were hard working, and together, they enjoyed being in business.

Then, Jesus comes to Levi, a publican. In Jesus day, these men were not highly esteemed. In fact, they were thought to be traitors and spies for Rome because they collected taxes. Often, these men would exact more than what was necessary and skimmed what profit they could from their own countrymen.

But as a man looks on the outward appearance, God looks upon the heart.
What Levi did after Jesus came to call him, reveals his heart…

“…And he left all, rose up, and followed him.”

Then, Levi calls all those within his ‘circle’ to come to meet this man who has called him into making this life-changing decision.

Luke 5:29And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them.”

Levi drew together his ‘circle’ of friends because of the immediate influence he found in this man, Jesus. He wanted them to meet him. He wanted them to see what kind of man He was, His words, and just how it is He changed his life.

When each of us first trusted Jesus Christ as Savior, the newness and life-changing power we felt, prompted us to want anyone and everyone to know this beautiful Savior who could transform our lives!

Some within our ‘circle’ may have heard us and accepted Him. Others may have heard and chose to look into this a bit further. Still, others may have rejected Him altogether. This new dynamic within our ‘circle’ changed everything.

In returning to our example – Jesus – we need to see that He showed us how to be accepting of all who seek Him; not just those who are like us.

You and I have at the ready, grace for any and all situations and circumstances. At our weakest moments, God’s grace is there to strengthen us.

2 Corinthians 12:9And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

But in its application, we seem to pick and choose based upon our preferences, not according as God would will in our life.

It becomes easy for us to criticize others for their lack of grace or their preferences that disagree with our set of standards. We fall into the trap of comparison, which the Bible tells us is unwise.

Humility and submission to God’s will and God’s way in my life make the lines of my ‘circle’ to broaden and blur.

When I see others as a soul for whom Christ died, I see their first need is salvation. Continued grace in my life should flow to know that one to grow in their relationship with God and ultimately come to do the same work of winning and discipling others in their life.

Jesus could have called anyone to come alongside Him in His earthly ministry. Yet, we see the cross section of humanity – twelve men who literally turned the world upside down. They came from all walks of life. Some were widely accepted, while others were wholly rejected.

You and I were drawn into Jesus’ ‘circle’ to become His disciple. We are called to become His ambassador.

As an ambassador, we must remain indifferent to our opinions, prejudices, and preferences and wholly represent the character of the One for whom we represent. Our ‘circle’ needs to continue to widen.

Today, look around you. Where have we drawn the lines in our life when it comes to fellowship? Have we left off those we’ve known for that new one who is different and exciting? Do we keep to the old and familiar and decline any and all who would desire to belong to our ‘circle’?

It may very well be that that one who crosses your path today is a divine appointment from the One who allowed you into his ‘circle’, so you can be the ambassador to draw them into His.

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