I did not come to call the righteous but sinners. 

Despised as a collaborator with the Romans,  Matthew knew that his job as a tax collector was nothing to be proud of.   Or at least he shouldn’t have been proud to be a tax collector. His hard-earned wealth only brought him contempt and rejection from his own people.   He probably endured snide remarks from his townspeople, and it’s possible that he had begun to believe them.   Whatever he thought, when he heard Jesus call him, Matthew did not hesitate.   All his sinful ways, all the ways he had mistreated people, and all the unworthiness that must have accompanied such behavior dissipated.   There was something special about Jesus, and Matthew was not about to let any obstacle—real or perceived—stand in his way.

It can be easy to buy into the lie that you are unworthy to answer Jesus’ call.   Don’t believe it!   Don’t imagine that your sins or weaknesses have convinced Jesus to pass you by in favor of a more worthy candidate.   Remember what he said to the people who objected to his calling of Matthew:  “I did not come to call the righteous but sinners”.   We are all sinners, and still, Jesus calls all of us: “Follow me”.   He wants you to be with him.

So don’t let your sins and failings hinder your yes to the Lord.   Quite the opposite—they are the perfect opportunity to show the world how merciful he is.   Tradition tells us that Matthew went on to evangelize the very Jews he had once scandalized.   The evidence of his change of heart must have made a deep impression on many of them.

Today, if you are feeling unworthy, remember Matthew.   Remember God’s kindness and mercy toward him.   Remember the freedom and joy he felt when he left his old life behind and accepted Jesus’ invitation.   God has called you and chosen you because he loves you just as much as he loved Matthew.   He wants to silence that voice of unworthiness.   Whether Jesus is calling you to leave behind a pattern of sin, to grow closer to him in prayer, to serve your community in a new way, or some combination of all three, say yes. Jump at his invitation, and let him change your life.

Word Among Us

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