May 27, 2016

The Cinderella Syndrome

Luke 5:27-32

Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them.

—  Luke 5:29

Do you know the story of Cinderella? Her mean stepfamily made her do all the work in the household. She wasn’t allowed to go to the ball because her stepmother and sisters hated her. Out of nowhere, Cinderella was greeted by a fairy godmother. She turned a few mice into readymade horses and arranged for her to go to the ball, where the prince was smitten with her. When the clock struck midnight, everything returned to normal and Cinderella ran back to her old life. The prince conducted a search and found the young maiden, and they lived happily ever after. 

Stories like this happen only in children’s books and Disney films, right? Yet every culture around the world has a Cinderella story.

Levi was a tax collector for the Romans. He was despised by the local culture as a traitor and a thief. But Jesus didn’t despise Levi. He looked past what others saw and called out with two words to the man whom no one really knew: “Follow me.” The heart of Levi was melted by the love of the Master, who looked beyond appearances and saw his value and his need. 
Levi needed to repent, of course, and repentance leads to soul health in Jesus, the one doctor with the cure we all need. Unfortunately we all have the disease of sin, and, like Pharisees, we often think we are righteous. Do you want the cure, or are you insisting that you have a clean bill of health?

Father, I need your help to fight sin. Please heal my heart and soul with your love, joy, peace, and forgiveness. Amen.

About the author — Reginald Smith

Dr. Reginald Smith is senior pastor at Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for seventeen years. He has also served as a pastor in Paterson, New Jersey. He and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, Janelle, Katrina, and Mariah.

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