This post was written by Alyssa. I’m so excited to share her writing with you all! Thanks, Alyssa!
Luke 5:27-29 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.
Levi didn’t care that he had an unpopular job. Or at least that’s what he led others to believe. His job brought him a steady income, and he could bank on swindling some unknowing souls into paying more than their fair share of taxes to further supplement his income. But even as he was convincing others to dig deeper and pay out more of their meager earnings to him, he noticed that something didn’t feel quite right. Something nagged at him.
. . . .
Something nags at Daniel, the homeless man who stands on the corner next to the building where I work. He seems to think it’s his need for his next fix of alcohol. Passersby often give him food, water, and clothing, which he accepts. But he seems to have a smile on his face only when he has in hand a brown paper sack with a glass container filled with yellow or brown liquid. And when that runs out, the smile on his face disappears.
. . . .
When Jesus saw Levi sitting in the tax collector booth, he didn’t turn his head and walk on by. He saw a need, one that Levi probably hadn’t even identified himself, and sought to meet it. Jesus offered Himself: Follow me. Learn from me. Watch me, and I’ll show you how it’s done. You needn’t continue making yourself and others miserable. There is another way.
And at Jesus’s two-word invitation, Levi immediately responded.
While Levi’s obedience is extraordinary in some ways because he was willing to walk away from a job that provided financial security, it may have been his emotional insecurity that he was more willing to trade in for a chance to be mentored and led. Maybe he had recognized how lonely it was to be at the top of the tax bracket. Maybe he was tired of his wealth attracting “friends.”
Or maybe Levi’s obedience was simply a natural reaction to the power with which Jesus spoke. He was fully God walking among the people. People who had been oppressed by the law for a long time. People who wanted a different way. A better way. A way that Jesus offered.
. . . .
As I reflect on this passage and the power of Jesus’ invitation, I wonder how I can show Daniel that the glass bottle is a temporary nagging and that he really longs for Jesus. I know that in my power, I can’t. It’s only through Jesus’ love that I can love the unlovable. It’s only through Jesus’ leading that I can lead others to Him.
Father God, thank You for offering Yourself to us and for giving us Your love to extend to the unpopular of this world. Show us how we can offer You to the people we encounter each day and help us to not be afraid to do so. Help us to remember that we can do all things through Your power.
For a second cup see Matthew 9:9 and Mark 2:14.
I love this, Alyssa! And I especially love how Matthew told his own story in third person. It’s like he’s talking about an entirely different person. Which, of course, is often the case once someone has had an encounter with Jesus. Our lives are so radically changed, we become a new person.
Thank you for this reminder that Jesus’ love pierces through to ANY of us, no matter our backgrounds or current circumstances. Because of that, we should take that love and offer it to those who seem to be unreachable.
Alyssa, I love the way you intermingled the two stories, Levi’s and Daniel’s! It just is a picture to me of how the truth in the Bible, written so long ago, intermingles in our everyday lives and applies to the situations we are in and the people we meet and still shows that “different way!”
Yes, the “mingling” as Jeanette said is powerful. Makes me consider my own needs and of noticing those around me. Love that you know Daniel’s name. Great writing, friend, as always, gets me thinking.