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Mark 2:15—“While he was reclining at the table in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who were following him.”

Arts and crafts are one of my girls’ favorite things to do at the table! The more glitter, shine, colors, sparkle—man, that is what we are all about!

They find so much joy being creative, using their God-given artistic abilities. They learn to work together and encourage each other as their creation comes to life.

But let me tell you, it makes the biggest mess you have ever seen! My table has the scars to prove it. Dried on glue, stains from the paint, glitter stuck between the cracks. UGH! It will never be the same again!

In the grand scheme of things, it is so worth it.

In Mark 2 we see a man named Levi get an invitation from Jesus to “come follow me.” He immediately gets up, leaves all his possessions and follows Jesus.

Now this man was a tax collector. The Jews in this time considered a tax collector to be at the bottom of the social list along with murderers and thieves. To say the Jews disdained tax collectors would be an understatement! They wanted nothing to do with them.

I’m sure Levi was well aware of the scars he carried. Like most tax collectors of his time, he probably stole money from people, cheated them for his own personal gain and treated people unkind (No wonder the Jewish people didn’t like him). It would be safe to say he had made a mess of the life God gave him—having dried glue, stains and glitter in between the cracks of his life.

But instead of avoiding the tax collectors, Jesus responded differently. He not only wanted to talk with Levi; He wanted to eat with him.

God’s eternal salvation is for all mankind—not just the “good” people, the “worthy,” the “churchy” people, but even the lowliest of all. Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted and hurting, to give them a hope and a future—something the Pharisees couldn’t understand. Or maybe more accurately, they didn’t want to understand.

Jesus was going against everything the Pharisees had been taught and what they themselves were teaching in the synagogues. They wanted to be in charge; they wanted to teach their way; they wanted people to listen to them and them alone! Jesus was ruining their plan!

Jesus reached out to those messy people and told them they, too, could be worthy of a God who saves. Jesus was an expert in taking the old and making it new, taking what society said was unworthy and making it worthy again. In fact, he tells them that is the exact reason he came. “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinner” (Mark 2:17).

When I sit at my stained-covered table, I am reminded how my life is tarnished with things too. I have made a mess of the beautiful life God has given me. I have taken His blessings, protection and provisions and wasted them on selfish things. Living my life with my own intentions instead of His.

But Jesus is in the restoration business!

No matter how many stains or blemishes I may have, He loves me still! He wants to renew the old and clean up the mess I have made!

Thank goodness I have a Savior who has the power to do all He has promised!