It’s taxes filing time again.
Americans’ view on taxes have never been pleasant.
People believe paying taxes should go away and they are too high.
Their biggest complaint about taxes– the rich don’t get taxed enough!
But imagine no more taxes.
That would be too cool right?
I used to be scared to file late because what may happen if I did:
THEY WILL CHARGE LATE PENALTIES FOR FILING LATE, NOT FILING OR BOTH
THEY WILL CHARGE HIGH INTEREST
I CAN BE ARRESTED
That why most working people like myself remember April 15th filing deadline.
Can you believe once I went five years without filing my taxes?
Yes five years!
I confessed to my sister, who worked for the IRS, and said no problem we can take care of it.
I jumped right into the solution by calling the IRS and requesting a copy of my W2 for those years.
Gale did my taxes and afterwards she advised me to call them, set up a payment arrangement and file my taxes on time from here on.
It took me three years to pay them off so if you owe the IRS do what I did and set up a payment arrangement to pay them.
It’s not as bad as you think.
No matter how many horror stories we hear about the IRS they aren’t getting rich at taxpayers’ expense.
Back in Jesus’ days taxes collectors were despised because they were getting rich by extorting money.
They were considered greedy, heartless, and dishonest.
In those days taxes collectors were looked down on like people today look down on murderers, prostitutes, child molesters and crack heads.
Yeah that bad.
Levi was one of THOSE people.
After this he went out and saw a man named Levi at his work collecting taxes. Jesus said, “Come along with me.” And he did–walked away from everything and went with him.
Levi gave a large dinner at his home for Jesus. Everybody was there, tax men and other disreputable characters as guests at the dinner. The Pharisees and their religion scholars came to his disciples greatly offended.
“What is he doing eating and drinking with crooks and ‘sinners’?”
Jesus heard about it and spoke up, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? I’m here inviting outsiders, not insiders–an invitation to changed life, changed inside and out.” (Luke 5:27-32 MSG)
Imagine a crack head in a crack house smoking crack and Jesus coming in saying follow me. Then the crack head put down his pipe, walk away from the dope, leave the girls and follow Jesus immediately.
That what it was like when Jesus went into Levi’s office. Levi was cheating people on their taxes, basically he was in the process of SINNING!
Now let me ask you this.
Do you think righteous religious people (Pharisees) would go into a crack house and try to save a crack head?
I don’t think so.
Am I saying we should go into crack houses?
But what I am saying is that I do believe Christians should go out into the streets where addicts, homeless and the poor live and hang out.
I also believe we should go into prisons and hospitals and let them see what God’s love LOOKS like by giving our time and attention.
Lets look at the scripture again:
The Pharisees and their religion scholars came to his disciples greatly offended. “What is he doing eating and drinking with crooks and ‘sinners’?”…
That’s what we Christians should do eat and drink with crooks, prostitutes, addicts, homeless and sinners in the communities.
BECAUSE WE ARE JUST LIKE THEM…SINNERS!
We shouldn’t care how they smell or look. We shouldn’t care about the track marks in their arms.
We shouldn’t care about how many prison numbers they have or crimes they committed.
All we should care about is how we can HELP them and how we can SHOW them how much God love them and hope they see the light in us and repent.
The Pharisees were offended by sinners.
Do you get offended when a homeless addict comes up to you begging for money?
Do you tell yourself all they want is money for drugs?
And do you tell yourself I’m not giving them my money they can work just like me?
Today when people see the word Pharisee they automatically think negative.
But remember back in Jesus’ days Pharisees were viewed as people who devoted themselves to God.
They were looked at in a positive light because of all their religious activities they were involved in while they looked down on others.
Does that sound familiar?
Don’t it sounds like the attitude of religious people?
You know those church going self-righteous people who don’t’ want nothing to do with ungodly people unless they come to their church.
And when they do arrive they stare at them making them feel unwelcome.
Self- righteous Christians give the impression to non-Christians that they are good people who have all their problems under control.
Now can you see why people are not running to churches?
Do you blame them?
Non-Christians want to be around people who can relate to them not judge them.
They want to be heard and understood not reminded how sinful they are.
They want to be around people who come around them because they truly care and wants to connect not because it makes them look godly.
There are reasons why Jesus attended a dinner party with a bunch of tax collectors and “sinners”.
THREE REASONS JESUS CALLED SINNERS
When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, no one is likely to die for a good person, though someone might be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. (Romans 5:6-8 NLT)
Jesus came for sinners who recognize themselves as such. He only came for the sinners who can admit their need for salvation.
Self-righteous people think they are well and not sick.
The Pharisees had spiritual cancer and thought they were healthy.
But tax collectors don’t live in an illusion and here’s three reasons why Jesus came for the notorious sinners just like them:
THEY HAVE EXPERIENCE
Sometimes people don’t know there in another way to live. It could be because of their environment or other reasons.
That’s why we shouldn’t judge others because we don’t know their story.
God don’t cause people their misfortunes but He allows them to experience them so He can use their experience for His glory.
Non-Christians can relate to heart-felt experiences.
THEY ACCEPT WHO THEY ARE
To be used by God you must know who you are. You must know why you think the way you think and do what you do.
You must know your defects, liabilities and your assesses.
When you accept yourself on a deeper level you then can be used for your mission.
God have a mission for all who have accepted their past and present.
THEY CAN RELATE TO LOST PEOPLE
God allow us to get our experience for one reason: TO GO OUT AND SAVE THE LOST!
Everything you have experienced is for you to share with others. Not just people in the church but out in the world.
They are the ones who need to see how God have changed you and give them hope.
They will be drawn to the light within you.
Never underestimate the transformation power in God’s light in you.
Jesus didn’t come to call the righteous but sinners who know they are sinners. If you think you’re too good for ungodly worldly people be scared be very scared. Jesus said everyone who says Lord, Lord will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven but he who does the will of His Father.
How do I relate to people others tend to look down on?
Why do I believe Jesus called a despised tax collector like Levi to follow Him?