“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’” – James 4:13-15

God is the Author of our life stories. He weaves together intricate and unique storylines that we cannot see until they have come to pass. If we allow Him complete access, our stories will unfold in alignment with His divine will. If we insist on taking the pen ourselves, editing and rewriting, we risk altering His masterful narrative… hindering His great plans from transpiring in our lives.

“All things are done according to God’s plan and decision; and God chose us to be His own people in union with Christ because of His own purpose, based on what He had decided from the very beginning.” – Ephesians 1:11

Early on in His earthly ministry, Jesus calls on Levi to follow Him. Employed as a tax collector under Herod Antipas, ruler of Galilee, Levi immediately leaves all behind… his world, his career, his livelihood (Matthew 9:9). What happened in his heart to cause him to place his future into the hands of this new Teacher? He is changed in the presence of Jesus… open and responsive to the holy will of God for his life.

Levi becomes known as Matthew and is selected as one of Christ’s twelve apostles. Jesus gives him a new Greek name, meaning “Gift of Yahweh”, to denote his new role in God’s kingdom. For Matthew has chosen God’s will over his own. He understands the cost of leaving his tax collecting position. There will be no turning back for him… unlike some of the apostles who can always return to their fishing trades.

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.” – Proverbs 16:3

God’s divine will is already mapped out for Matthew… an amazing story that will play out in his life. A story thought out in the highest of wisdom… designed and formed according to the high counsel of God. It takes only this apostle’s receptive faith to step out into a new life and future.

Matthew leaves behind a life where he is disliked and shunned by his own people. For tax collectors in these times worked for the Romans, the despised rulers of Israel. The collectors demanded taxes from the people, often more than necessary, while keeping the excess for themselves. They maintained a reputation of dishonesty and greed.

Matthew’s life changes when Jesus redeems what seems an unredeemable life. The Lord sees in this man his God-given potential, his true character. He offers this unacceptable man love and acceptance… acceptance as one of His followers and as a child of God’s kingdom. With Matthew’s new life comes a new and eternal purpose.

Matthew invites his friends to dine with this Teacher he has chosen to ardently follow. With a changed heart, he longs to share the saving message of Jesus with his former associates still lost in sin. This marks the beginning of Matthew’s legacy as one of the Four Evangelists (the gospel writers… Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).

God’s will for Matthew draws upon the skills he brings with him into the kingdom. As a professional record-keeper, he becomes a close observer of Jesus… carefully recording His words and His works. This new apostle’s attention to detail allows him to accurately pen the Gospel of Matthew, a telling of the greatest of God’s stories… the life of Jesus.

“The safest place to be is in the center of God’s will.” – Corrie Ten Boom

The God of all creation has given each of His children an eternal purpose…a new destiny within His will. He sees our hearts, our motives, our true character… who He created us to be. He is calling us to leave our past in the past… allowing our sins, griefs and failures to be washed away by the blood of Jesus.

God desires that we step out courageously, like Matthew, and follow His Son Jesus with all abandon. That we, by an act of faith, yield to the Author of our life stories and His foreordained plans designed just for us. That we trust Him for a new and exciting life to come. That we say to Him the words He so longs to hear… “Your will be done”.