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As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So, he arose and followed Him. (Matthew 5:16)

And there you have it. The Holy Apostle Matthew has just described his own conversion to Christ. There is no doubt a whole lot more to the story, but for Matthew the tax collector, this summed it all up.

At some point in time, most of us have committed our life to Christ. We have decided to get serious about our faith and how the Lord would have us live. Your story no doubt has many details as does my own story. Yet for each of us, it could be boiled down to something like this: 

“And Jesus said to me, “Follow me.” So, I got up and followed Him.”

Jesus may have spoken to you through the Holy Scriptures, through another person, or some event in your life. However, it happened, the message was the same: “Follow me!”

For the Holy Apostle Matthew that was the beginning of “the race that was marked out for him.” After proclaiming the Gospel in Syria, Media, Persia, Parthia, he finished the race in Ethiopia in a glorious fashion, dying as martyr for the faith. You can read the rest of his story at:

Each of us has a “race” marked out for us to run as well. With the Holy Apostle Matthew as our example, may we run our race with perseverance. Here is our encouragement for staying strong to the finish line:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

May our Lord help us to be faithful all the way to the finish line of our lives.

P.S. When my Dad became Orthodox, he took the name Matthew because of the life and witness of this Holy Apostle. That is my Dad’s Icon of Saint Matthew.