Matthew was a number cruncher. You might call him a bean-counter, a numbers-nerd, the walking calculator; you get the idea.
Employed as a tax collector, Matthew was familiar with finances and very likely knew the best way to get the most out of his (and your) money. Matthew was familiar with the bottom line.
Yesterday @ Evangel, I spoke about a Money Myth that is common in our culture: money makes everything better. We tend to believe that money brings joy, security and value to our lives, but when you get to the bottom line, that way of thinking doesn’t balance out.
While reading some of Matthew’s story about being called to follow Jesus, this jumped out at me. Take a minute and read it here (Matthew 8:28-34). Did you catch Matthew’s reference to the bottom line? It’s in verses 32-34:
32 “All right, go!” Jesus commanded them. So the demons came out of the men and entered the pigs, and the whole herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.
33 The herdsmen fled to the nearby town, telling everyone what happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 Then the entire town came out to meet Jesus, but they begged him to go away and leave them alone.
When Jesus came to town, the economy was altered. When Jesus brought freedom to those men, the pig farmers took a hit in their pocketbook.
- While the men gained, the farmers lost.
- While the men were credited with freedom, the farmers incurred a debt.
- The men won something money couldn’t buy, the farmers lost money.
Here’s what I’m saying: it cost something when Jesus came to town.
Sadly, the cost was too great for the people of the region; they begged Jesus to go away and leave them alone. He obliged. Their initial review of the bottom line was too painful for them to risk further financial loss. What they gave up when Jesus came to town was more valuable in their estimation than what Jesus was bringing with Him.
They liked their bottom line without having to factor in Jesus.
Have you lost something by inviting Jesus to your town? Has His arrival impacted your pocketbook? How has Jesus changed your bottom line?
‘As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and went.’ Matthew 9:9 ESV