After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.
- Luke 5:27-28
Listen to Jesus’ simple, poetic, clear invitation to Levi: “Follow me.” How would you respond to that invitation?
We might be tempted to ask for additional details: “Where? Why? Who are you again? What will I do with my stuff? Do you offer dental benefits?” Jesus doesn’t cloud the invitation with a load of details. He gives Levi exactly enough, exactly what Levi needs to get moving.
The invitation we all receive every day is just this: follow Jesus. He invites us to put one foot in front of the other in his wake. He invites us to make the right next decision. He invites to the long obedience that’s made up of a day-by-day, moment-by-moment series of “Yeses.” He extends this offer every day.
We must choose every day to follow Jesus. We’ll face numerous invitations from other would-be saviors and gods every day. They’ll call us with a siren’s song to explore other paths or to rest comfortably in the tax collector’s booth. Safety. Comfort. Security. A good income. A cozy home. A calm life peppered with photogenic vacations. The invitation to follow Jesus grates against these other invitations.
To follow Jesus is to place our feet on the road that works for justice, that sacrifices for a greater cause, that loves the tough-to-love … loves even ourselves. To follow Jesus will lead us to places where we are in over our head, out of our element, and swept off of our feet. But that’s where the life is.
Jesus’ invitation comes with new life, new directions, a new name, new vocations, and new potential. Levi heard this invitation and responded eagerly. He left everything and followed Jesus. He did exactly what Jesus invited him to do and, by God’s grace, he was made new.
Do you hear Jesus’ invitation to you today? Follow him. Make a conscious decision to follow him. Don’t just default to being a good, friendly, warm, generous person. Follow Jesus. Pay attention to Jesus and go where he’s going. Let him lead you.
Try praying a prayer like this today:
Jesus, I hear your invitation for me to follow you. Help me to see you clearly, to follow you courageously, and to stay the course. I need your help today. Amen.