Jesus said to Matthew: "Follow me." And he rose and followed him.
People from all walks of life and all backgrounds become Christians. Are we surprised at times when we hear that some well-known person has become a Christian? We raise our eyebrows and think — 'HIM?' or 'HER?' 'Have they really become a Christian? Miracles never cease!' And that's exactly what people were thinking when Matthew (also known as Levi) became a follower of Jesus. Matthew was an educated man, a well-to-do man, but he certainly was not the kind of fellow you would hang out with. He was a tax-collector, despised by nearly everybody and he was not even allowed into the Jewish churches (synagogues) or the Temple.
However, Jesus probably had seen Matthew very often and probably knew that there was a sore heart inside this wealthy tax-collector. So one day Jesus spoke to him and said quite simply, "Follow me." And Matthew got up and did just that.
And what a great help Matthew has been to the church of Jesus Christ! He wrote the Gospel that bears his name. As we thank God for Matthew, let's remember to thank God for all the other surprising converts who are brought into the Christian family. Let's always welcome people who may not fit into our ideas of what Christians ought to look like or the background from which they come.
Dear Lord, we thank you for Matthew and the Gospel which he wrote. Help us to be very thankful for all the people you bring to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.