And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom; and he said unto him, Follow me. And he left all, rose up, and followed him. Luke 5:27, 28.
Of the Roman officials in Palestine, none were more hated than the publicans. The fact that the taxes were imposed by a foreign power was a continual irritation to the Jews, being a reminder that their independence had departed. And the taxgatherers were … extortioners on their own account, enriching themselves at the expense of the people. A Jew who accepted this office at the hands of the Romans was looked upon as betraying the honor of his nation. He was despised as an apostate, and was classed with the vilest of society.
To this class belonged Levi-Matthew, who, after the four disciples at Gennesaret, was the next to be called to Christ’s service. The Pharisees had judged Matthew according to his employment, but Jesus saw in this man a heart open for the reception of truth. Matthew had listened to the Saviour’s teaching. As the convicting Spirit of God revealed his sinfulness, he longed to seek help from Christ; but he was accustomed to the exclusiveness of the rabbis, and had not thought that this Great Teacher would notice him.
Sitting at his toll booth one day, the publican saw Jesus approaching. Great was his astonishment to hear the words addressed to himself, “Follow me.” Matthew “left all, rose up, and followed him.” There was no hesitation, no questioning, no thought of the lucrative business to be exchanged for poverty and hardship. It was enough for him that he was to be with Jesus, that he might listen to His words, and unite with Him in His work….
To Matthew in his wealth, and to Andrew and Peter in their poverty, the same test was brought; the same consecration was made by each. At the moment of success, when the nets were filled with fish, and the impulses of the old life were strongest, Jesus asked the disciples at the sea to leave all for the work of the gospel. So every soul is tested as to whether to desire for temporal good or for fellowship with Christ is strongest.
Conflict and Courage p. 283
Prayer Requests
—–Brian’s great-aunt passed away. Please pray for the family especially his great-grandmother who was very close to her. Rose
—–My family and I are standing in need of prayer. My aunt passed away and my uncle doesn’t know yet because he is at a conference. Pray for their children. La Vonta
Dear Friends,
My great-grandmother had a difficult life full of sadness and regret. She did have a hobby that brought her much joy, however. She painted the most beautiful oil paintings. As a child, I used to stare at them for hours and imagine that I could be inside the painting. I especially liked the painting of a large, ocean wave. Somehow she had captured it’s translucency as it seemed about to drench the viewer of the painting.
One day, a professional artist happened to visit her and viewed her work. The possibility of being discovered. As she showed him her best paintings, she noticed that he was frowning a little. Disappointment filled her as she realized that he did not like her work. She had tried to make the paintings as perfect as she could, yet this man was frowning as he examined her paintings. At last, he exclaimed, “I know what is missing! Shadows! Madam, you have forgotten to add shadows. Your paintings are very good, but without shadows, your landscapes are missing something.”
Just as my great-grandmother’s paintings lacked the depth shadows bring to a picture, so shadows bring out the depth in our life. They develop our character and keep us from becoming like a spoiled child. Paul speaks of the necessity of these trials and troubles, these shadows in our life, “despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons, for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure, but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” Heb 12:5-11
Moreover, the Great Master Artist allows these “shadows” to come our life’s “painting” to draw us to Himself. They get our attention when we are in danger of straying off from the path the leads to Heaven. He orders our steps as we cry unto our Only Helper. As, in our distress, we turn to His Holy Word for comfort and advice, He holds our hand and guides us with His counsel. “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” “Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour.” Isa 30:21, 43:1-3
When we are feeling overwhelmed with the trials of this life, we can claim the promise, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Cor 10:13 James tells us, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations, Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. Peter adds, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 4:6,7,1:6,7
May we cling to our Loving Master Artist no matter what the shadows He has “painted” in our life. May we exclaim as did Paul, “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” 2 Cor 1:3,4 May we allow Him to have complete control being diligent that we may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless is my prayer.

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