For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6.
The calling of Matthew to be one of Christ’s disciples excited great indignation. For a religious teacher to choose a publican as one of his immediate attendants was an offense against the religious, social, and national customs.
In his grateful humility, Matthew desired to show his appreciation of the honor bestowed upon him; and, calling together those who had been his associates in business, in pleasure, and in sin, he made a great feast for the Saviour. If Jesus would call him, who was so sinful and unworthy, He would surely accept his former companions, who were, thought Matthew, far more deserving than himself. Matthew had a great longing that they should share the benefits of the mercies and grace of Christ. He desired them to know that Christ did not … despise and hate the publicans and sinners. He wanted them to know Christ as the blessed Saviour….
Jesus never refused an invitation to such a feast. The object ever before Him was to sow in the hearts of His hearers the seeds of truth—through His winning conversation to draw hearts to Himself. In His every act Christ had a purpose, and the lesson which He gave on this occasion was timely and appropriate. By this act He declared that even publicans and sinners were not excluded from His presence….
The Pharisees beheld Christ sitting and eating with publicans and sinners…. These self-righteous men, who felt no need of help, could not appreciate the work of Christ. They placed themselves where they could not accept the salvation which He came to bring. They would not come unto Him that they might have life. The poor publicans and sinners felt their need of help, and they accepted the instruction and aid which they knew Christ was able to give them.
To Matthew himself the example of Jesus at the feast was a constant lesson. The despised publican became one of the most devoted evangelists, in his own ministry following closely in his Master’s steps.
Conflict and Courage p. 284
Prayer Requests
—–update–Tatelynn [student missionary] has an infection somewhere and they are doing further testing to determine exactly where it is and they are doing whatever it takes to find the source but she also has pneumonia and is still sick and needing our prayers! Kimberly
—–My son was in a car accident yesterday. Person ran a red light and hit him on passenger side. Car is totaled. Five hours in the hospital–burns on both arms from the airbags, hurt back, sore all over, something with his neck. Released from hospital this morning. Please pray for his recovery. Jennifer
—–My dad and friend are both having colonoscopies done tomorrow. Please pray that things will be well for them. Also, our daughter is still having issues with her rebellious behavior and attitude and it continues to strain her relationship with my wife and I. And also, my buddy Paul is sick with heart and kidneys issues and for some reason, his benefits are not being reinstated and to top it all off, he and his elderly mother have are being put out of their place in about a week and he feels that God has abandoned him. Please pray for His hand to intervene in all this, David
—–please I will want a prayer for my mum she just had stroke, she can’t talk no, find it difficult to eat and can’t move her right hand and leg. Henry
—–Please pray for Rosie, having emergency surgery right now due to water in her brain. This is her 3rd brain surgery. She developed hydrocele. Alice
Dear Friends,
When my Aunt Joyce was about ten, she ran into the house all excited. She had been on an errand to Van Avery’s Drug Store that was two blocks from home. “Mama, Mama!” she said, “They have a sign up on the new store. It says ‘Collisions’.” Every time she went to the store for her mother, she had watched “Collisions” being built and was so curious as to what kind of store it would be.
Puzzled, my grandmother could not figure out what type of a store “Collisions” could be. At last she decided that it must have something to do with cars. They get into collisions. Surely they would not put a junk yard in a residential neighborhood. Very curious, my grandmother did something I can never remember her doing: she walked the two blocks to the store.
When she arrived at the corner across from the new store, she began to laugh. The sign on the new store was not “Collisions”: it was “Collison’s Market.” It was a grocery store! What a difference one little “i” made. She laughed about my aunt’s mistake for many years.
Just as the addition of the letter “i” changed the meaning of the word on the sign, so the little things in our life can change the direction of our life. Even though little things may seem unimportant, they can affect us more than we realize. It is the little things in life that shape our character. It is the little thoughts, the little words, the seemingly unimportant actions that determine where we will spend eternity.
Solomon observed, “Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.” Prov 10:1 And James tells us, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” James 2:10 That is a solemn statement. “One point” seems like such a tiny failure, yet it taints the character. One day, “a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?9 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.” Luke 18:18-23 Our Dear Saviour knew the point in which the ruler was lacking. The commandments toward his fellow man, he had been careful to observe but had failed to keep the first three commandments. His money was his idol. It was his god. Therefore, that man’s religion was in vain.
How careful we must be not to make the same mistake. One little sin cherished in our life can eventually make our whole character repulsive. One little sin seems so mild, so unimportant, nothing worth bothering about at first, but it grows and festers until we are in the condition Isaiah speaks about, “the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it, but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.” Isa 1:5,6 Frightful condition!
Seeing our helplessness, we cry as did Paul, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Rom 7:24 In the next verse <25> he gives the answer. “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Jesus is the “the way, the truth, and the life.” John 14:6 Only He can save us from our dreadful condition. Only He can change us into His image, but we must ask for this great blessing. He does not force us to accept Him. God never forces. It is our choice.
May we never overlook the little sinful practices, but “give diligence to make [our] calling and election sure is my prayer. 2 Peter 1:10

Publicans Not Excluded
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