Levi would have been ostracized by many in his community for his role as a tax collector. But once others saw how Levi was being treated and accepted by Jesus, people started looking at Levi differently. By this time, he's starting to go by the name too; Matthew. Some people think that's because Jesus gave Levi a new name since the name Matthew translates to “gift of God”. Other people simply saw Levi the tax collector when they looked at him initially, but Jesus saw Matthew. Matthew became an apostle, a disciple, and even a Gospel writer. It all started because of his acceptance by Jesus, which led to his acceptance of Jesus as his Savior.
It doesn't matter if you were set to the side by other people in your past. It doesn't matter if you were stuck in a corner and felt stuck in your circumstances. Jesus sees you as a gift. He sees you as a testimony waiting to happen. He sees us as a God-written story in the making, so he takes us in and he brings us close. He loves us. He values us. We all have access to the heart of Jesus, and we discover that the more time we spend with him, the more we learn and experience God's unfathomable love. Through this, we are able to realize our worth in him, in addition to our purpose and our value. And if this how Jesus has accepted us, he has set the example of what it looks like to accept one another too.
Discussion/Reflection Questions: When in your life have you been treated as a gift or a treasure by someone else? How did this make you feel?