"As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth. 'Follow me,' he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him."1
"In our Monday morning group," wrote Milt Richards, "we have been reflecting on what it means to follow Jesus. In our scripture lesson for today we read the story of Jesus meeting Matthew. Here is a person who is one of the most disrespected and loathed persons in the community. Crowds of people had been clamoring to see and hear Jesus, the new miracle worker among them who claimed to be the promised 'Messiah.' Yet as Jesus moved on his way, a very special thing happened. The record specifically states that Jesus saw Matthew."
Not only did Jesus see Matthew—the despised and hated tax collector—but he also called him saying, "Follow me." In choosing to accept Jesus' invitation, Matthew became one of Jesus' special disciples—and his life and writings continue to make an impact on the world today.
Jesus, of course, was heavily criticized by the religious elite of his day for mixing with despised tax collectors and obvious sinners, but he had no intention of being "politically correct" in order to please the elite. He lived only to please his Father, who sent him to earth to seek and to save the lost; that is, the spiritually lost.
No matter how you and I are accepted, rejected, neglected or made to feel, Jesus sees us too. And his invitation is exactly the same as it was to Matthew: "Follow me."
Accept Jesus' invitation and your reward in heaven will also be great.
Be sure to click on God's Invitation at: http://tinyurl.com/6k49w.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you for Jesus' invitation to me to follow him. I gladly accept his invitation. Please help me to live in totally harmony with your will and to honor Jesus and you. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Matthew 9:9 (NIV).