Daily Devotional 8-16-19

Transforming Power
By Julie White
“As Jesus was walking along, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth.  ‘Follow me and be my disciple,’ Jesus said to him. So, Matthew got up and followed Him.” Matthew 9:9
Matthew was a Jew who was appointed by the Romans to be the area’s tax collector. Tax collectors were expected to take a commission on the taxes they collected but most of them overcharged and kept the profits. So, tax collectors were hated by the Jews because of their reputation for cheating and because of their support of Rome.
Maybe more than any other disciple, Matthew had a clear idea of how much it would cost to follow Jesus, yet he did not hesitate a minute.  When he got up and left his tax-collecting booth—a lucrative career—he guaranteed himself unemployment.  For several of the other disciples, there was always fishing to return to, but for Matthew, there was no turning back.
Two changes happened to Matthew when he decided to follow Jesus.  First, Jesus gave him a new life.  Matthew not only belonged to a new group, he belonged to the Son of God.  He was not just accepting a different way of life; he was now an accepted person.  For a despised tax collector, that change must have been so wonderful!  Second, Jesus gave Matthew a new purpose for his skills. When he followed Jesus, the only tool from His past that he carried with him was his pen.  From the beginning, God had made him a record keeper.  Jesus’ call eventually allowed Matthew to put his skills to their finest work. Scripture says that Matthew was a keen observer, and he undoubtedly recorded what he saw going on around him.
Matthew couldn’t have known that God would use the very skills he had sharpened as a tax collector to record the greatest story ever lived. God’s message has transforming power. It can transform you too.
PRAYERDear Lord, help us reach out to others who are lost.  Empower us to connect others to You by our faith, our hope, but mostly by our love. Thank you, Lord.