Tax collectors in the time of Jesus were seen to be worse than sinners. Not only did they undertake the job of securing the taxes of the people, they did it for an occupying power. This made them virtual traitors of the Jewish race. This is particularly the case when we consider that many of them also practiced extortion into the bargain!

I think that this whole scenario is at the forefront of Jesus’ mind when He calls Matthew or Levi as the text calls him, to be one of His disciples. It was partly to prove that God can and will use anyone whom He chooses for the work of the Kingdom. It also demonstrates the power associated with a call from God. If we really listen for God’s word and hear it clearly, we can be sure that the power and grace will be made available to us so that we can be faithful to it.

Matthew stands as a counter example to all of us who have ever thought that we were too far down the wrong road to turn back and be of any use to the Kingdom of god. This is so far from the truth that it is laughable. No one is ever beyond redemption as long as they still have the opportunity to repent, namely that they are still alive, and they are willing to listen to and follow God’s call upon his or her life.

The lives of the saints stand as testimonies to the many and varied ways that God calls a person and then gives them the grace to have their lives transformed beyond anyone’s wildest expectations. Our God is a God of the impossible, well, if not the impossible, then the highly improbable! Let us never doubt that He has both the will and the power to change our lives!

In fact, I think that the more difficult the task at hand, the more the Lord relishes the task of bringing conversion to the person in question. There is nothing like a display of strength to impress people that His desire is that all people be saved. There is no shortage of determination behind this desire of God. The only question that really remains to be answered is whether or not we want to accept the gift of the grace of conversion on offer to us all. This offer is ultimately too good to be refused if we are sensible enough to consider it carefully – how can the gift of eternal life be refused.

Have you ever wondered whether God cared enough about you to be able to save you from your sins? Do you ever doubt His love for you? Doubt no longer and believe in His love and power to transform your life.

Lord Jesus, thank you for the gift of eternal life. I pray that I will be humble enough to embrace it every day and to grow in trust of you to the point that I will never doubt your love and power again.