DayBreaks for 11/30/12 – Lessons Learned From the Cheap Seats
Luke 5:27-32 (NLT) – Later, as Jesus left the town, he saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. 28 So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him. 29 Later, Levi held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honor. Many of Levi’s fellow tax collectors and other guests also ate with them. 30 But the Pharisees and their teachers of religious law complained bitterly to Jesus’ disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with such scum?” 31 Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. 32 I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”
Levi’s (known better to us as the apostle Matthew) tax collector booth was sitting by the side of the road on the way out of town, sort of like a lemonade stand, but also very different. It was like a dentist office in many ways – not the kind of place that anyone wants to go to or to visit.
In many ways, Levi (though he was undoubtedly wealthy from cheating people out of their money as was the practice of tax collectors in his time), was like a modern day beggar. Most people would pass right by him – not wanting to pretend that they saw him – especially if they owed him money.
I confess that there are times when I see a beggar at a stoplight or driveway entering a shopping center and pretend not to see them – I will turn and look the other way. It’s not because I owe them money, but because I’m too selfish and don’t want to give them money. I will also often judge them in my heart – thinking that if they weren’t so lazy they’d get a job and not be begging any more. I’ve been learning that in today’s economy that isn’t necessarily true. The numbers of homeless and hungry have skyrocketed since the recession. But still I don’t owe them money in a literal sense. But there is something I do owe them: love. Romans 13:8 (ESV) Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. Flunked that test, didn’t I?
When I ignore them, pretend not to notice or see them, I am no different than those who passed by the man who had been beaten by the thieves and left beside the road. Several passed him by before the good Samaritan came and helped. As much as I’d like to think otherwise in my heart, I’m far too much like those who passed him by.
Jesus not only noticed Levi, but he went and talked to him. What would the reaction be today of those who witnessed a pastor going to talk to a prostitute(s)? One would like to think that they would think the best – that he was going to try to help them, not for some other darker purpose.
What was the result of Levi being noticed by Jesus? He hosts a dinner in Jesus’ honor and invites his friends and they got to meet the Son of God. Levi becomes Matthew, the apostle. The world was changed simply because Jesus noticed….
Jesus’ words to the religious leaders must have stung: “I have come to call not those who think they are righteous…” Jesus wasn’t saying that they were righteous, in fact, he was saying precisely the opposite. We are often deluded by our estimation of ourselves. This passage shows it clearly!!!!
Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>
PRAYER: How easily we exalt ourselves and how quickly we judge others! How selfish we can be! How can You love creatures such as us? Thank You that You DO love us in spite of all our selfishness, judgementalism and pride! Forgive us, dear, compassionate Lord! Have mercy on me, a sinner! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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