The Gospel writer Matthew left his tax collecting business to follow Jesus (Matthew 9:9). It was the best decision he ever made. Other people also had the opportunity to follow Jesus, but chose not to. It was the worst mistake they ever made. Why do some people follow the Lord and others don't? It is a matter of perspective.
Jesus told Matthew, "Follow Me." Notice the singularity of focus. We are to follow Jesus, not religion. In essence, Jesus told Matthew, "Keep your eyes on Me and let's go!" Jesus is lovely, powerful, wise and very much worth following.
But the other people got distracted and took their eyes off Jesus. From their mistakes we learn two lessons.
- DON'T LET STRANGE PEOPLE DISTRACT YOU FROM JESUS
Matthew had been a despised tax collector and he no doubt invited his friends to meet Jesus. When the religious good people saw these sinners, they were offended and didn't want anything to do with Jesus (Matthew 9:10-11). Light attracts bugs and Jesus the Light of the world attracts needy people. When you go to church, keep your eyes on the Lord, not the other worshippers.
- DON'T LET STRANGE PRACTICES DISTRACT YOU FROM JESUS
The good people had customs about fasting. It was part of their comfortable religious ritual. When they noticed that Jesus and His followers didn't observe these traditions they were troubled (Matthew 9:14). Just because someone doesn't worship the way you've always done it, don't stumble over them. When you go to church, again, keep your eyes on Jesus, don't get distracted by the various customs.
To stay focused on Jesus maybe we need blinders like race horses. The writer of Hebrews says we should keep our eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Be careful not to allow strange people or stange practices distract you from following Jesus!