People didn't like Matthew.  He was a tax
collector.  People know taxes must be paid
to fund road building and sewers and schools
and such like.

But people don't like to pay taxes for things
they don't think the government should pay

Matthew collected more taxes than he
needed to.  He got rich that way.  People
resented Matthew.  He was not popular.

One day Matthew went to hear John the
Baptist preach.  John told people there was
going to be a new kingdom of God soon, and
they needed to be ready to be included in it.

John kept baptizing unpopular people who
wanted to be part of that kingdom of God,
and the good people didn't approve.

John the Baptist told the tax collectors
listening to him that they could be baptized
if they quit charged too much.

This made the good people in the audience
mad because they never even let tax
collectors into their synagogues (churches)
to worship with them.

Matthew said he was sorry for taking too
much money from tax payers, and then was

Matthew was so pleased.  People at the
Temple had never accepted him.  But John
the Baptist did.  He even liked Matthew.

Matthew kept his promise to John and to
God.  He started charging people a lot less
for their taxes.

When people asked him why he was lowering
their taxes, he said it was because the new
kingdom of God was starting soon and he
wanted to be in it.

Not long after, Jesus moved to the same
town Matthew lived in ~ Caper-naum.  

Matthew got to know Jesus better.  He
began to realize the new kingdom of God is
in our hearts.  He stayed with Jesus until
Jesus died and went to heaven.  

Then Matthew spent the rest of his life
telling people in other parts of the world
how much Jesus loves them.

Do you know someone who isn't very popular
because their parents have an unpopular
occupation, or they look different or talk
different than other people?  

 Tell that person that s/he is popular with
God.  Then become that person's friend.