It’s Tuesday. Kids in their desks, adults at their jobs. We got through yesterday’s full moon. Instead of lying low when everyone else went to work Monday morning, I drove on campus (rarely a good idea!) to participate in a university research project. I forgot I need downtime on Mondays. Long walks and laundry.
I should have read the email instructions; instead, I showed up with an attitude. The graduate students were so nice, attempting small talk between the barrage of tests. They were doing their job, so I tried not to be difficult.
As Jesus continued on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at a kiosk for collecting taxes. He said to him, “Follow me,” and he got up and followed him. Matt. 9:9 (CEB)
I didn’t feel brilliant yesterday, and am not full of insight today either. I imagine Matthew sitting in his cubicle. Was he zoning out, or looking for a little adventure? Nobody likes the tax man. But Matthew had colleagues. Friends. Did he ditch them?
As Jesus sat down to eat in Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners joined Jesus and his disciples at the table. Matt. 9:10 (CEB)
Wait. I thought Jesus called Matthew to leave everything and everyone, embrace the open road. Sun behind them, never looking back. Instead, Matthew followed Jesus to his very own house where he had a big dinner party with his very own friends.
I encourage you to live as people worthy of the call you received from God. Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love… Eph. 4:1b-2 (CEB)
Somehow I doubt that Matthew felt he was worthy to be called. Did he feel accepted? Or like he needed to change? I wonder how the dinner plan went. Did Matthew’s friends just show up? Or did he ask Jesus if he could invite them? Or did Jesus take the initiative and tell him to include everyone who wanted to join them?
But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Matt. 9:11 (CEB)
Why indeed. Was everyone enjoying themselves until the Pharisees showed up? It doesn’t seem like anyone invited them. They were just observers. Jealous, perhaps, that such unworthy people were getting the famous rabbi’s attention. Sometimes Jesus ate at a Pharisee’s house. So inconsistent! Except the fact that he accepted a lot of dinner invites.
When Jesus heard it, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor, but sick people do. Go and learn what this means: I want mercy and not sacrifice. I didn’t come to call righteous people, but sinners.” Matt. 9:12-13 (CEB)
It was an ordinary day. Perhaps it was a Tuesday, when Jesus walked by. As we go about our jobs today, may we also see Jesus. When we dine at home, may Jesus take his place at our table. May we know that we, too, are called, regardless of our worthiness. And may we accept one another with love. -Renée