The Complexities of Normality
Matthew 9:9-13 NLT "As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him. Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum? ” When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
This passage reveals that Matthew had his normal tax booth and it was normal for him to be found working there every day. We also see his normal friends and his normal social activity.
The Pharisees help to reveal this with their normal religious comments. These comments are fairly typical (normal) for them throughout biblical dialogues.
Normal is most successful in the middle of beginnings and endings. Normal doesn't like the start or finish of something. The start of anything is unfamiliar and requires your whole soul to be involved. Your mind is active trying to remember everything, your emotions are ablaze with new experiences and your will is navigating fight or flight as you negotiate new surroundings, relationships and schedules. This can be seen in: • A new job • A new relationship • A new home • A new year • A new job, different office or even just returning to work after holidays, long leave or absence.
Likewise, the end of something normal is also met with an apprehensive soul. - your mind is attacked with thoughts about events that have not yet happened. - your emotions have entered a theme park of fun and scary rides. - and you are left trying to make decisions to secure a new normal that exists in a different reality.
The daily grind of everyday life creates a normality that can be toxic to the soul. We eventually slip into an auto pilot that hijacks our brains but feeds our emotions because comfort is what we crave most!
When normal is interrupted with a holiday ending or a new position role at work starting or the start of a new relationship or the death of a loved one it changes the way we normally behave. It interrupts our normal way of doing things and we automatically search for a new normal.
Jesus quotes a scripture from Hosea 6:6 NLT, where it says, "I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings." - God wants your heart (who you are) more than He wants your hand (what you do).
Who we really are is highlighted during beginnings and endings because it requires our whole soul to be engaged as we search for the equilibrium of a new normal. Once in a normal state we tend to disengage and drift.
My prayer is that you would be attentive to the many opportunities of the starts and finishes of things in your life. That you would seize the moment and maximise the potential to engage your whole soul at these times so as to not get stuck on auto pilot.
Jesus said in Revelation 22:13 NLT, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”
There is nothing normal about Jesus because He is always doing new things but nobody better understands the complexity of your normality!