Jesus Calls Matthew
“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.”” Matthew 9:9-13 NLT
My Thoughts: Today we get to meet Matthew who becomes a disciple and writes this book in the Bible that we are walking through. Matthew (also called Levi) was a despised Jewish tax collector and his life was dramatically changed by Jesus.
Don’t you love how Jesus uses imperfect people to do some of the most amazing things? I do, because as a broken woman (i.e. sinner) it gives me hope that God can and will continue to use me!
I seem to be in a “tell on myself” kinda mode lately and I’m about to do that again!
My husband and I attended a large church many years ago and they started making some big changes. I typically love changes because it means they have a new plan to bring in new people which also means the potential for new believers. However, there was one big change that didn’t set well with either of us. In fact, let’s just say one of us (me) may have been a little more disgruntled about it than normal.
My husband, who is wise, suggested we take this matter to the Lord, so we did. We started by praying to get our hearts in the right place, which was doing what was best for our church, even if that meant the best solution was for us to leave. Then we chose a book in the Bible and read it together for a few weeks. It was amazing how God led us to answers and peace about the situation. Here were our conclusions about the changes, especially the one we were not fond of:
- Was it illegal? No.
- Was it immoral? No.
- Was it unjust? No.
- Was it about us? NO!! We were already saved!!!!
- Was the goal to bring unbelievers into the church and change their hearts? YES!!!!!!
The church was attempting to achieve all the right goals, and we learned that when we asked questions about the new changes. The more we learned the more we supported their goals. It was exactly as this verse said:
When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.”
We still didn’t like the one change but we learned to work around it. For the next two years we volunteered in multiple roles to help the church staff achieve their goals.
Eventually we did change churches but it was because we moved. Leaving our old church on good terms was so much better for our hearts and souls than had we changed because of frustration or for selfish reasons!
We must never forget as believers we are there to support the church and use our skills as volunteers to help them bring in unbelievers! Finally, when those unbelievers begin to arrive don’t be judgmental for goodness sake! Jesus tells us:
“I want you to show mercy…. For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” (Emphasis is mine)
And I believe as sinners that continues to define all of us, even if we are believers! (If you aren’t sure you are a sinner, read last week’s blog!)
Closing Prayer: Father God, it’s been my experience that one of the hardest break ups we can face as believers is when we leave our church for any reason, so I pray we do it with the right motivation in our hearts. Once we’ve been saved it’s our job to support the church however we can to bring those unbelievers to our doorstep, and show mercy when they arrive. May I remember that always and serve as You served us, Jesus; with everything. Amen.