A few years ago I was meeting people at a Church. This usually goes pretty well but on this day when I asked one lady what she did for a living she said she worked for the tax office and then looked at me in a way which I interpreted as “Just do not say anything else.”
I get it. Working for the tax office is a conversation stopper in many circles. I probably told her I had also worked in a Tax Office doing overdue collections in a younger life. I get it.
Matthew was a Tax Collector. However much you may rue the IRS they do, at least, have rules. Tax collectors in Jesus’ time did not have many rules except to make as much money as they could by whatever means they chose. They were hated by everyone.
Matthew is chosen and loved and transformed. From hated to beloved. From extortionist to exhorter. I wonder whether we treat our faith as that lady treated her profession – as something to shut down on and refuse conversation or whether we treat it as a point of entry – I love it, go on, ask me anything you want.