After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi (also known as Matthew) sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed Him. – (Luke 5:27-28)
There are several really remarkable steps to Matthew’s story. First, he was a tax collector, and therefore, no friend to the Jews. Additionally, his position had likely been a very lucrative one for him, yet at Jesus’ invitation, he willingly walked away from it all, to faithfully follow Him. Even more than Matthew’s willingness to leave his life of luxury behind, He desperately wanted others to discover what he had found in Christ, so he held a great banquet, inviting all his friends, so that they too, might meet Jesus and choose to follow Him. Matthew laid down his material possessions to gain spiritual wealth, as he was overjoyed to be associated with Jesus.
Each of us has a story; a moment in time when we heard Him whisper an invitation to come and follow Him. What have we set aside to serve Him? Do we go out of our way to share the joy that we have found with those whom we care most about? May our stories each include passion, promise, and pride in He who grants us new life, as we willingly set aside whatever He asks, and choose to follow Him with all that we are.
and calls us by name;
what will we lay down?
Money? Fortune? Fame?
Where He asks we go,
requires us move;
giant steps of faith,
our fears He’ll remove.
All trust is needed,
as are faithful steps;
when we go in peace,
we’re His righteous reps.
Help our hearts let go,
of temporal things;
and to You, Lord God,
we forever cling.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the remarkable examples of men and women that have gone before us, that willingly walked away from what was comfortable and known, into the unknown, as they trusted in You. Thank You that the benefits far outweigh the burdens for all of eternity, no matter what the cost seems to be in the here and now. Forgive us for our hesitation when we hear You call, and help us to move immediately, just as Matthew did. May our willing obedience be a blessing to all whom we encounter, and may many come to know of Your loving kindness as a result. Help us to love as You love us, and keep our hearts tender to hear from You. Be glorified, O God, as we faithfully follow You. Amen.
The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10
“And I will pour on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they have pierced; they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.
“And the land shall mourn, every family by itself: the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves;
“all the families that remain, every family by itself, and their wives by themselves.
“In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.
“It shall be in that day,” says the LORD of hosts, “that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they shall no longer be remembered. I will also cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to depart from the land.
“It shall come to pass that if anyone still prophesies, then his father and mother who begot him will say to him, ‘You shall not live, because you have spoken lies in the name of the LORD.’ And his father and mother who begot him shall thrust him through when he prophesies.
“And it shall be in that day that every prophet will be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies; they will not wear a robe of coarse hair to deceive.
“But he will say, ‘I am no prophet, I am a farmer; for a man taught me to keep cattle from my youth.’
“And someone will say to him, ‘What are these wounds in your hands?’ Then he will answer, ‘Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.’
“Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd,
Against the Man who is My
Says the LORD of hosts.
“Strike the Shepherd,
And the sheep will be scattered;
Then I will turn My hand against the little ones.
And it shall come to pass in all the land,”
Says the LORD,
“That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die,
But one-third shall be left in it:
I will bring the one-third through the fire,
Will refine them as silver is refined,
And test them as gold is tested.
They will call on My name,
And I will answer them.
I will say, ‘This is My people';
And each one will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’ “