He went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he left all, rose up, and followed Him. Luke 5:27-28
Simple call. Simple obedience. This meant that he was apprenticing himself to Jesus. All of his decisions are filtered through the grid of the relationship with Jesus. Levi is now attached to Jesus.
When we are called to follow Christ we are summoned to an exclusive attachment to his person.~~Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Cost of Discipleship
Following Jesus means having an exclusive attachment to Him. That is the defining relationship for the Christian. Following Jesus is now the functioning control center of your entire life. Every other relationship is now transformed because of your relationship with Jesus.
When I married my wife three decades ago, I made a decision to have an exclusive attachment to her and that attachment informed all future decisions. She influenced my career choices, how I spend our money, what I did for recreation down to what I wear in public!
It works no less with Jesus.
Notice Levi left his past behind. He thought about his vocation differently. He thought about relationships differently. Everything changed when he apprenticed with Jesus. Jesus refuses to be a fashionable accessory to a life that you are still in charge of. If you are a follower of Jesus it means that you are not in charge of your life anymore.
See, Jesus will be of supreme importance OR he will be of no importance, but he will not be of some importance to you.
How is Jesus saying to you, “Follow Me”? I suggest we carve out some time with Him to let him shape our minds and souls. Further, I think it would be helpful to select a specific aspect of His teaching and press it into the depths of our hearts until it becomes an integral part of our lifestyle. That might be his teachings on conflict management found in Matthew 5 and 18. Or his teaching on forgiveness found in Luke 7. Or his teaching on worship found in John 4. How about giving found in Luke 19?
Where in your life is Jesus saying, “Follow Me”?
The Jesus attachment means we go on mission with Jesus. Levi never got over this encounter with this Rabbi Jesus on that hot Palestinian day. He demonstrates it by throwing Jesus a party and introduces his friends to Jesus.
We also know he went on to a best-selling writing career. His named was changed to Matthew and he wrote the first Gospel of the New Testament that bears his name. He was so moved by his attachment to Jesus he literally wrote the book on Jesus. He desperately wanted people to know that through a relationship with Jesus they could be accepted and loved into the Kingdom of God. According to Church tradition Levi/Matthew lived out his apprenticeship in such a way that it cost him his life.
And when we “get grace” it will have the same effect on our lives. I should never “get over” the grace Jesus offers ragamuffin me.
I wonder who in my world is sitting at a tax booth waiting to have an encounter with Jesus and Jesus is just waiting for me to be his hand, eyes and voice to tell them they are welcome in the Kingdom?
Anne LaMott is an author and self-described hippy who lives in San Francisco. When you read her work she can be profane, funny and profound often in the same sentence. Throughout her adult life she became addicted to drugs and alcohol. She made many mistakes in relationships and ended up raising a son without a father. To the great shock of all of her family and friends she converted to Christianity.
In her book Traveling Mercies she describes her encounter with grace and conversion to Christ:
“I do not understand the mystery of grace only that it meets us where we are, but that it does not leave us where it found us.”
Jesus is ready to meet you where you are but He will never be satisfied to leave you where He found you.
What are you going to do when He calls?