Do you ever feel like you just don’t belong? Ever find yourself lost in the crowd with the idea that you should not be there? Most of us can relate to feeling quite ordinary, even unworthy. We can feel unworthy of God’s love. We can feel unworthy in the church or around church people. We can feel as though we have no place even despite the search. We can even feel that way when we read the Bible. When we read about the faith of Moses (although not as great as we want to make it – just read it)…or we hear about the heart of David (also not as strong when we read his whole story)…or we consider the patience of Job (he didn’t endure without great struggle and never fully got answers to his questions) – we think we are unworthy. We can’t be like any of them. I would say we are more like them than we want to believe. But, even if they seem out of reach, I find myself at the table with Jesus.
Jesus spent time with ordinary folks, people like me. He spent time with the people who knew they were not perfect and struggled to get it right, a lot. He ate with people who needed more than a meal. He loved people who didn’t realize God would ever see them, much less love them. He invited people in who thought the invitation was only for the righteous (or self-righteous as many who thought they were invited were).
In the focus scripture today, I find myself. I realize that Jesus does have a place for me at the table. Despite what the world thinks of me, I have a place. Regardless of my past or how many times I have struggled, the chair is there for me. And it is there for you too! Here it is: “And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples.”
Do you see? The sinners that were invited – those were sinners from everyone else’s perspective. Jesus saw more. He sat down to dinner with many people that would have been considered invaluable. He saw value where the world did not. He welcomed ordinary people. He welcomes me. And he welcomes you as well! Come, sit down at the table – ordinary people invited.
9 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him.
10 And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard this, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”
Photos included in Devotions are captured by David Cain – The Cain Gallery. Photos are available for sale by contacting The Cain Gallery