Matthew 9:9-13 (TPT)
9 As Jesus left Capernaum he came upon a tax-collecting station, where a traitorous Jew was busy at his work, collecting taxes for the Romans. His name was Matthew. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said to him. Immediately Matthew jumped up and began to follow Jesus.
10 Later, Jesus went to Matthew’s home to share a meal with him. Many other tax collectors and outcasts of society were invited to eat with Jesus and his disciples.
11 When those known as the Pharisees saw what was happening, they were indignant, and they kept asking Jesus’ disciples, “Why would your Master dine with such lowlifes?”
12 When Jesus overheard this, he spoke up and said, “Healthy people don’t need to see a doctor, but the sick will go for treatment.” 13 Then he added, “Now you should go and study the meaning of the verse:
I want you to show mercy, not just offer me a sacrifice.
For I have come to invite the outcasts of society and sinners, not those who think they are already on the right path.”
If you have been following along in the beapptitude sermon series, you have probably noticed that we have been in a book of the Bible called "The Book of Matthew". Sometimes I forget that this book was written by a person - a human being like you and I - who knew Jesus, followed Jesus, and learned from Jesus.
The Matthew who wrote down the beatitudes (and the rest of this book) is the same Matthew that this story is talking about. The author makes sure the reader knows that he was a traitor, considered to be a lowlife, and had been totally outcast by society for choosing to serve the Roman government.
Here's what I love... Matthew begins to follow Jesus and immediately is becoming Salt and Light to his friends and coworkers. His story is the thing that draws more people in to know our inclusive, grace-filled Savior!
Think about the truth this story reminds us of. There's no spirituality level that you have to reach to start being Salt and Light to those around you. In fact, it seems that Jesus shines hardest through people who have not "accomplished a certain level of spirituality."
So here is the question I believe God is asking us this morning: What are you waiting for?
God has already declared that you ARE the Salt of the Earth and the Light of the World. Stop waiting around or acting like you have to somehow show that you are qualified for the task that God has given you. Start reaching out now. Start drawing people in now. Start cooking meals (even if you are a horrible cook) and inviting people to the table. Share the grace that was so freely poured out over your own life.
And for all those who are already doing these things, thank you for being the Salt and Light to the rest of us.