Luke 5:27-28 “And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. And he left all, rose up, and followed him.”
It takes some research to explain what was happening between Jesus and Levi (Matthew). The publicans, or tax collectors, were one of the most vilified Jews because it was one of their own collecting for the hated Roman government.
They were shunned and openly cursed by their own people. Often, they used their position of power over others to increase their own influence and wealth.
So, when Jesus proclaimed that He was going to Levi’s house to dine with him, there was a collective gasp among the religious crowd.
Luke 5:30 “But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?”
The isolation, separation, and legalistic behavior of the religious of the day, revealed their jealously and hatred for having their influence taken away by this simple man who made these wild accusations and touted Himself to be the Son of God.
So, Levi had a decision to make. We find that he left all and went to follow Jesus. Which got me thinking in this vein.
“Am I as ready as Levi was to drop everything and follow Jesus?”
The religious part wants to think I am spiritual enough to say “Yes” to anything God would ask of me.
The pragmatic side of me considers the past failures where I disobeyed and failed to follow God’s request.
The one thing I’ve learned in the thirty-plus years as a child of God is that I am called upon by God to follow every single day. The choice to follow is not a “one and done” type of decision.
Each day, God presents us with choices. The choice is to start my day in worship and devotion to my God. Or allow the world and its care to press my soul into walking my way instead of His.
Many have heard the call of God to enter into full-time service for God. It may be a pastor, pastor’s wife, missionary, youth, or some other work for which God has specially prepared you.
If it has come, how did you respond?
Not all of God’s calls involve full-time service.
It may be a call to holiness.
It may be a call to purity.
It may be a call to share the gospel with your neighbor.
It may be a call to be a better spouse or parent.
The call to follow is not any more significant because of what we are called to do. The significance is in Who it is that is calling us. God has said that He will enable us to do all that He calls us to do.
2 Corinthians 8:11-12 “Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.”
Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ“
We may shrink from the call to follow out of fear, insecurity, inadequacy, or doubt. I have dealt with folks who are more afraid of living for God and following His call than the bondage of their sin and the consequences that will follow because of disobedience.
God tells us:
Romans 11:29 “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”
I believe it there is no repentance on His part because His will for us is perfect. It gets muddled when we do not choose rightly.
We are and were created for His good pleasure.
Ephesians 1:4-5 “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will“
We have works that have been fore-ordained before the foundation of the world.
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
So, when Levi was called, God had already been working to open his mind to the option. Though it was still Levi’s decision, we see how God used his immediate obedience and hospitality to teach us the truth.
Jesus’ response to the scribes and Pharisees tells us:
Luke 5:31-32 “And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
To follow takes humility. An accurate estimation of our abilities can help us see just how God uses us in situations we are ill-equipped to handle in our own strength.
Following God’s call is a step of faith that opens us to see the miraculous! Allow God to use you and reveal His miraculous work in and through you!