“Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors and said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus heard this and said to them (that), “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” -Mark 2:15-17
So…who are “Tax collectors and sinners”??
Is it the person who goes to Church and sings the loudest, or donates the most,or shouts praises in Church loudly,brags about how they have “been saved” to all and sundry, or gives to charity and makes it known to all that they DO???
NOPE, NOT EVEN CLOSE!!
Or is it the person who quietly gives what they have without flashing it before others,the one who volunteers at the local hospice, or animal shelter, the one who takes blankets down to the poor, the person who sees someone in despair or hunger and puts an arm around them or gives up their own meal even if they are a stranger….? INDEED IT IS!!
I know, shocking right??
Think about it for a second…the “average Joe” is not a pew pounding, bible thumping, scripture flouting, “holier than thou” type….
Back THEN it was a Tax Collector…a Soldier….a Potter…someone who was content to just do their job, earn their pay, go home to their family, and live a normal life….not the person who went to Temple every other day and spouted “Salve'” and “Ave” like it was a catch phrase.
Times have not changed much….the “faceless masses” who go about their daily lives, pay their taxes, and obey the law ARE the tax collectors and sinner of our day.
I see people out there shouting “HALLELUJAH!” at the top of their lungs, and bragging about how much time they spend either in church, or donating to causes….when in fact all they are doing is EXACTLY what is described in Mark 12:41-44
“Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
They are the proud…the ones who LOVE to have people SEE their donations, to SEE them there in the Church, to BRAG about how good a Christian they are…when in fact, the person who simply and quietly takes their spare cans of food down to the local food bank, or who sees the beggar on the street and without reservation,or thought to the amount and not for show or praise,dips their hand into their pocket and gives them whatever is there without looking at what it is in their hand.
You do not have to flout to the whole world what your faith is.
You do not have to be center ring in order to see that God is not interested in how much you donate to the Church, or in trying to prove how much better a Christian you are than others….no, it is something even far easier and less gaudy than all of these… it is in DOING the right thing and keeping YOUR life inline with His teachings and word that make a Christian a Christian.
“Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in.
If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” -James 2:2-4
If I have learned ANYTHING in this world, it is not the ones who sing the loudest, nor those who call out “HALLELUJAH” at every pause, nor those who make a great show of being a Christian who are REALLY doing what Jesus asked of them…it is the simple humble person who treats their fellow man with love, shelters those in need, gives without having to be ASKED to give and does not count the cost in pennies that marks the REAL person doing God’s will from the Pharisees….
“Judge not, that you be not judged.” -Matthew 7:1
So before you judge how good a Christian SOMEONE ELSE is, look at yourself HARD in the mirror of your soul…you may be surprised to find that it is YOU who needs to rethink your Christianity, and the way YOU are…not the way THEY are….
Am I a “Tax Collector and Sinner”??….I’d like to think so….