In the Gospel of Mark 2:13-17, Jesus approaches a very wealthy and corrupt individual named Levi (also Matthew) and actually invites him to be the newest member of His group of disciples. Both in Christian missions and progressive thought, there has always been much more of an emphasis on ministering to the poor than to the rich. I believe this largely due to the tendency that people generally show more compassion to those who are in greater physical need than those who seem to be well off. In fact, without a knowledge of God’s existence and His reign over creation, all humans have to gain from this world is whatever comfort they can manage to attain in this life, so it makes sense that people generally find it easer to show compassion to those who are physically suffering in this life.
However, Christian ministry is vastly different from that of an atheist or agnostic because we know that there is an eternity that we should all be concerned about; either eternity of suffering God’s justice and punishment towards our sin (Hell), or an eternity in God’s glory and comfort in what is called Heaven. Where a person ends up in eternity has nothing to do with whether they were rich, poor, suffered greatly, or suffered little in their earthly life.
The only thing that determines if a person inherits eternal life in Heaven is whether or not they repent of their sins and put their trust in Jesus Christ as the source of their forgiveness of all their sins.
Levi did not need saving because he was a privileged-wealthy tax collector; he needed saving because he was a liar, thief, and a lover of money.
Fellow Christian., the next time you have the choice to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with either a rich person or a poor person, do not pick the one who you think has the greater physical need, but pick the one who seems more willing to hear the message that you bring.
When Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick”, He was not implying that there are people who are so healthy that they don’t need a doctor. He was simply making the point that He, the Great Physician, came to those who are willing to admit their sicknesses so that they can receive the proper treatment which is forgiveness of sins through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
If you are not a Christian; know that you are invited to partake in the gift of eternal life by recognizing Jesus Christ as the way out of your current lifestyle that is an endless cycle of meaninglessness and hopelessness. Even though Levi the tax collector was a very rich man, he apparently was looking for a way out of his lifestyle and recognized Jesus as his one-way ticket out of there and did not hesitate when Jesus personally invited him to become one of His disciples.
That can be you…today…right now, if you understand these things in your heart and respond accordingly. I will leave you with another quote from Jesus that reiterates His invitation being extended to anyone who will receive it:
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
As one who simply accepted the invitation to the party,