Gratitude Day 493
Wed., July 29, 2020
Matthew 9:10-11 – While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
Yesterday, we had an unexpected visitor at our house.
Not a two-legged version. No, a four-legged version.
Rick called it a ground squirrel. Our neighbor lady called it a mole. I call it a rodent that needed to return outside.
Bigger than a chipmunk, he wasn’t terribly big and had a tail. Quite honestly, when I saw him move, he zipped rather fast, which was just fine with me.
Hubby Rick is back to work, which means he gets home around sun-up and goes to bed. Late morning when he awoke, he asked me where the mouse traps are. Not sure we have any, I asked why he wanted one. “Something’s been chewing on the manual for the dehumidifier in the basement,” was his reply.
Within the next hour, he announced that our new resident was NOT a mouse but something bigger. With the basement door open to our first floor, our little buddy became brave enough that he’d found his way onto the main floor of the house. Rick saw him scoot by.
So now, what are we going to do?
Rick wasn’t sure exactly where he went. Behind the fridge? The stove? Under the door and into the downstairs bedroom? We wasn’t sure.
We have an exceptionally large two-piece buffet that is original too the house. Both our visitor and I were surprised when I quickly saw him as I peaked behind the buffet. There is a hot water radiator used to heat the house also behind the buffet. He quickly hid behind the radiator, not sure what to do next.
Fortunately, the buffet is in a little room just beyond the rear entrance of our house. It would be a quick and easy exit for him … if he headed the right direction. Not wanting him to escape back into the main area of the house, Rick blocked the possible alternative routes while I made sure he stayed behind the buffet. Soon, he was squeaking at us. I’m not sure if he was hungry, scared or simply wanting attention. At least we knew he was still behind the buffet. Using a broom, Rick kicked him out from behind the water radiator. He came around the door and fortunately, headed towards the light and out the back door.
Whew! Disaster averted. We plan on being gone the rest of the week and certainly DID NOT want him hanging out inside the house while we were gone. We could imagine the damage that he could do.
Of course, all the while we were trying to coax him back outside, Rick and I were discussing HOW he got into the house. We think he came in through a basement window that has had outside access. Clearly, the window must be closed while we are gone.
More than once, Jesus ended up at a house during his public ministry and not everyone was so sure he should have been at the house where he was. He had just called Matthew, a tax collector, to join his inner circle of friends who were also identified as his disciples. Now, a tax collector was not always the most honest of people in first century Jewish culture. Basically, a tax collector would charge whatever he thought he could get out of a family for taxes. A portion went to the Roman government and the rest? Well, the tax collector pocketed for himself as his income. The more pressure a tax collector could enforce upon people while paying their taxes, the more lucrative the position would be.
This made tax collectors less than model citizens and certainly not the most admired of folks by the local church leaders. The church leaders are appalled that Jesus not only asked Matthew, a known swindler of a taxpayer, to join his inner group. Jesus also accepted an invitation to his house for dinner. A double whammy.
None of this bothered Jesus. He went ahead with his plan to call Matthew and demonstrate for everyone that sinners were acceptable and expected within God’s kingdom.
He was a lot more forgiving of who was in the same house as him than I was with our little rodent friend. I felt quite like a Pharisee wanting to chase the little guy out of Dodge and make sure he wasn’t getting into my things.
Yes, I know the situations are different. I am fully aware that this little guy isn’t the Son of God and really needs to return to his natural habitat.
Yet, I know that regularly, it’s SO. EASY. for me to judge others, just like the Pharisees. I question whether or not someone deserves the unlimited amount of grace that God extends each one of us or wonder if God should grant me an extra dose of grace, whether I deserve it or not. I look at what things how I want them and assume I know best. Whereas Jesus saw things I could see and was aware of more going on in a situation than I ever will be.
I pray that we can be more accepting of others, much like Jesus. Be open to see and hear and observe how someone with a significantly different background is loved just like we are.
I pray we see ourselves more as agents of grace than enforcers of the law.
Grace wins over law every time. Let’s remember this the next time we have an uninvited visitor into our lives.
For lessons that can teach us well today, I am grateful.
Holy God – may You open my fear to be comforted by You. Help me accept that Your kingdom is much richer than I can ever imagine. Amen.
It’s Wednesday which means it’s Devos with Dianne tonight at 8 PM CT o Facebook live. See you then!
If you have enjoyed this blog, please pass it along to someone else who will also enjoy it.