A generous tax collector
Pastor Mike Novotny
I was nervous before talking to my church family about Jesus’ bold teaching on money from Matthew chapter 6. Given the bad experiences many people have had with pastors, churches, and finances, I always tread carefully and pray passionately for the message and my motives to be clearly understood.
But then a small detail took away my fear. It dawned on me that Matthew chapter 6 was written by . . . Matthew. And do you know what he was famous for before he met Jesus? Taking people’s money! But then Someone changed his heart. “As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. ‘Follow me,’ he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him” (Matthew 9:9). Matthew followed Jesus back to Matthew’s house, where Jesus ate with him, drank with him, and honored him. Then Matthew followed Jesus to a cross, where the Savior gave him a priceless treasure—eternal life through the forgiveness of sins. In Jesus, Matthew got eternally rich. Whatever he gave up to follow Jesus was nothing compared to what he gained.
This is why we don’t have to be afraid to talk about faith and finances. Because the very passages we read and preach are from the guys who found something better than all the money in the world. They saw Jesus face-to-face and realized he was worth everything they had to give.
So please don’t be afraid of Jesus’ radical teaching of generosity. Remember the One who speaks such bold words and believe your Savior is in the business of giving to you, not taking from you. Just ask Matthew.
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