“He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.” Mark 2:13-14
Imagine the scene. Levi, an established businessman (tax collector), is busy at his trade. One day Jesus walks up, and with two simple words completely turns his life upside down. Jesus looks him in the eye, and simply says, “Follow me” and Levi gets up and leaves everything behind.
Notice what Jesus didn’t offer. He didn’t promise that things would get better. He didn’t promise that Levi would have a more “successful life” or a nicer house to live in. There are lot of things that Jesus didn’t promise Levi.
But notice what Jesus did promise him: the gift of himself. Jesus promised Levi a future that was sure of one thing: Jesus would be in it front and center. And for Levi, that was enough.
It was enough because it was more than anything else he had. He had a “career” that was as stable as the Roman government–and that was a sure bet back then. And, he had money–lots of it. Being a tax collector was a lucrative career–even though others viewed you as a ‘Benedict Arnold’ traitor because you had joined the other team–the Romans. But none of that mattered now, because he left it all to gain Jesus.
What would it take for you to give up everything–to quit chasing after “stuff”–so you can really focus on following Jesus? What would that look like for you?
To be honest–you don’t know. In fact, none of us know. When Jesus called him, Levi didn’t really know.
But that’s not the point. We crave clarity–Jesus wants us to crave trust. Want clarity? Then don’t follow Jesus. Jesus doesn’t promise that — he only promises you the one thing you need the most: himself.
1. At what stage are you in this story? You’re busy with your career…Jesus is approaching you…Jesus is looking into your eyes…Jesus is challenging you to follow him…you are deciding what to do?
2. Does Jesus really ask people to give up everything to follow him? Why or why not?
3. How do you know if you’re really following Jesus?