Luke 5:27-28. 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.
To go where you’re called, you need to move from where you’ve been.
Moving. If you’ve ever moved, you know the feelings it brings. When all your belonging are packed up in boxes, when walls and cupboards are bare, when rooms echo and you shut the creaky front door one last time, you know it’s real. You know that what once was will not continue to be: a job, a neighborhood, friends, favorite places, worn paths and commutes. You’re moving; with change comes a mush of expectancy, excitement, and anxiety. You look ahead to the future and new places and faces and adventures. You want to hold on to what you’ve got, but you also know that moving requires letting go.
We don’t know if Levi (also called Matthew) woke up that morning, knowing the day would be one that would change his life. We don’t know if he was thinking of other jobs, tired of being the Jewish traitor, scowled at by his neighbors as he was collecting taxes for the Romans. But when Jesus, the itinerant rabbi everyone was talking about, showed up at his workplace that day, he must have anticipated that something was about to change. Or perhaps it was more that something needed to change-- Him. Jesus’ invitation was one of a lifetime, a move that would mean leaving his security behind to embrace what God had for him.
And he accepted.
Hadn’t Levi left his tax booth after that encounter, he wouldn’t have experienced the fullness of a journey with Jesus. Had he stayed where he was, he would have watched Jesus from a distance, listening to other people’s stories about him instead of encountering him for himself. To go where he was being called meant moving on from all that he knew, and trusting Jesus with the journey.
The easy thing to do in life is to do nothing at all. Our default is what’s familiar, what’s comfortable, what is known, often at the expense of what could be, who God wants us to become. Many of us drift through life wanting to hold on to as many things as possible, afraid of literal and figurative empty houses, new neighborhoods, and moving boxes. But we miss the bigger story. As with Levi, while Jesus meets us where we are, he never wants us to stay there. But to do so means to take a risk. To do so means to release. To do so means to move—from who we are to who we’re called to be.
Today’s Encounter: Based on who God’s calling you to be, what do you need to leave behind?