All my life, I’ve heard people say, so-and-so was attracted like bees to honey. This metaphor is the phrase that came to mind while reading about Jesus calling Matthew to be His apostle.
It turns out that bees are not attracted to honey. Bees make honey, but bees are attracted to the nectar of certain flowers. When you think about it, this makes perfect sense. So, let’s create a new metaphor. I’m attracted to swimming pools like bees to nectar. I think it works! It might catch on!
Bees to nectar
Now, let’s consider two verses in Matthew, chapter nine:
9 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 9:9–10
10 And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples.
A good meal is like good nectar
I have no idea how many times I’ve read this passage and never connected the calling of Matthew, a tax collector, with a banquet crowded with tax collectors. This detail isn’t happenstance; the Holy Spirit is telling us something.
I have found that more meaningful ministry takes place around a meal than in any other setting. We see in verse nine that, “Jesus reclined at table.” Why is this? Well, a welcoming meal draws people, just as an aromatic flower lures bees to their food.
A page on Gardener’s Supply Company’s website provides a list of specific flowers that honeybees prefer. So, a delicious meal attracts people like bees to nectar.
This information means that, given a choice, bees will bypass other flowers to get to the ones that they know will give them the best food. For us to bee-attractive, we need to be winsome.
Jesus had many reasons for calling Matthew, but right out of the gate, Jesus used Matthew’s credentials to attract “many tax collectors.” When other tax collectors saw Matthew, a fellow tax collector, following Jesus, they wanted in on whatever angle he was playing. They didn’t want Matthew to get ahead of the competition. This erroneous conclusion is how the world thinks.
So, when Jesus went to a home for a meal, Matthew attracted “many” other tax collectors and sinners. When the religious leaders began complaining, Jesus said, “For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:11–13)
People see your face, but God sees your heart
Tax collectors, at the time of Jesus, were considered crooks. Interestingly, Matthew was not the only tax collector Jesus called. If you remember, Jesus also called out the chief tax collector, Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1–10).
It doesn’t matter what our job is. We may be an elected official, a nurse, a CEO, or a fast-food employee, if we have received Jesus when He calls then God will use us as we are, where we are, to share the Gospel of Jesus. If we allow Him, God will use us to attract our peers like bees to nectar.
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