“So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him.” Luke 5:28
Many times when my children ask me to come over and look at something, or help with something, my response is often, “Okay, one minute, let me first finish – fill in the blank – and then I’ll be right there.” In my reading this morning, I’m reminded that when Jesus asked his disciples to come and follow him, they responded immediately. They dropped everything and followed Jesus. Sometimes, I often skim over this verse and think, “Well, of course they left everything to follow Jesus! It was Jesus!” But isn’t this the same Jesus that calls me to follow him today?
I mean, it doesn’t say, “First Levi went back to take care of…” or “Simon then tied up his boat and sold his fishing nets so he would have enough money to journey with Jesus.” It simply says, they left EVERYTHING and followed Jesus.
A couple of years ago, my dear soul sista advised me to pray and find one word that I feel God is asking me to focus on throughout the year. This year, my word is “Follow”. That’s it. Just follow. It’s probably no coincidence then that I would land on this verse this morning. But what does it look like today, in the year 2013, to leave everything and follow Jesus?
I have to admit, this sounds harder to me than I want to confess. I mean, leave everything? How would I survive? How would my family make it? What about my house, my car, my job?
I’ve often heard it said the devil’s in the details. Boy, doesn’t that sum it up? I mean, the devil wants me to fret and worry about the “how to’s” – what I will do, where money will come from, how it will work out – because if I’m focusing on those things, it paralyzes me from doing anything – especially following Jesus.
How many of us really abandon everything and follow Jesus when he calls us to do so? If you are anything like me, your response is probably similar to the one I give my kiddos. “Okay, one minute, Jesus, first let me clean the kitchen,” or “One second, let me first wrap this up,” or “Jesus, you can’t possibly mean me. Let me clean myself up first. Then you can use me.” And we get caught up in the distractions and doubts, and instead of leaving everything, we continue pushing the call farther and farther away, until the devil convinces us that it’s too late to respond.
But it is never too late for God! God doesn’t measure our days by the clock on our wall or the watch on our wrist. He measures it through moments.
What if now is our moment? What if now is when Jesus is calling us to follow him?
Does the thought seem overwhelming to you? Because, if I’m one hundred percent honest… it does to me. I wish I could just say, “You got it! Easy-peasy, Jesus. You asked me to follow, so here I go!” But then I wonder, what does this mean? Does it mean I’m supposed to quit my job? Give everything away? Move?
And that is what overwhelms me – the not knowing. Not knowing for certain what Jesus is asking me to do. And the not knowing comes from not spending time with Him. Because, if you have spent any time at all with God, you know that when the Spirit is prompting you to do something – He doesn’t usually let you forget it! So in those moments when I am feeling overwhelmed, the best thing I can do is spend some quiet time with my Dad. To follow Him to a quiet spot, and share with Him my concerns, my fears, and my doubts.
What I’ve learned that in those moments, is that God is an amazing listener, and when I spend more and more time with Him, he teaches me to become a good listener, too. “Follow me,” He says, “listen and learn by my example.”
Maybe that means when Jesus sits down to eat “with such scum” (Luke 5:30), I follow him…and I share the Bread of Life with them.
Maybe that means when Jesus reaches out to heal the leper (Luke 5:13), I follow him…and I offer my hand to them.
Maybe that means when Jesus withdraws to lonely places (Luke 5:16), I follow him…and I pray with Him.
What God whispers to me is different than what He whispers to you. But I think the underlying message to each of us is probably the same.
“Follow me,” He says.
Thank you for your example. Thank you for leading me, and guiding my steps. Help me to stay close to you, so that I know your voice and what it is you are calling me to do. May I be a good and faithful servant, trusting in you always. Thank you for hearing my prayer.
In you precious name,