Have you ever heard of a “Matthew Party”? This is something we always wanted to do intentionally. However, there were many instances when it happened naturally.
A Matthew Party is designed to be a gathering of believers and non-believers. Loosely based on today’s text, the idea is to be welcoming to the non-believers while surrounding them with believers. No “preaching” goes on, only fun. It allows the non-believers to connect with believers. If conversations go in the spiritual direction, that’s the Holy Spirit!
In our text, Jesus had just selected another disciple to follow him. This time it wasn’t a fisherman but a tax collector. In those days, tax collectors were often swindlers and extortionists. People feared tax collector because they were ruthless and not honest in their dealings. They were often rich, made so by taking money from over charging people’s taxes.
What was Jesus thinking? Why in the world would he associate with someone like that? And now he’s at a party with this sinner!
Perhaps we have judged someone based on their appearance, yes? Or maybe we questioned someone’s morals or life choices, even their employment? I know I’m guilty, but I’m not proud of it. Even worse, how many of us have avoided people who are different from us because we were “better than them”? Ouch!
Next time you see someone that looks or acts different than you, remember Jesus’ words, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” Jesus came for us all, we are all sinners. It is not our place to judge or avoid those we don’t understand. Jesus loved them all, so must we.
Let’s pray. Lord, forgive me for those times when I look upon another with some disdain for their dress, their demeanor, their attitude. Help me to remember that you love them, too. I am not perfect either, Lord, and I ask for your help to work on me. That is something I can do. Show me those that are looking for you so that I can show them the way. Use me to be their beacon in this scary world. Thank you for using me to share and giving me the words to say.