Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Paying the Price



Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International 

Paying the Price

"Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him and he began to teach them. As he walked along, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector´s booth. “Follow me”, Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him."
Mark 2:13-14, NIV

One person´s life and experience is never the same as another person´s. We’re all different, we all have our own individual walk. Listening to the testimonies of others can be very encouraging, touching or thrilling. But it can never be a model for us to copy. We all have our own individual walk, because God leads us differently, in ways He’s prepared for us.

When Levi was called to follow Jesus, his experience of Jesus` call was different from that of Simon, and from that of Philip. By comparison, it might seem easier for Levi to make the decision to follow Jesus than Simon Peter. He had no boat or fishing nets to leave. Rather, he was let out of a narrow office, freed from boring routines, and he got to see wider horizons. That must have been an easy choice, don’t you think?

But when disaster struck the disciples, as Jesus was crucified, Simon had an easy way out. He just got back to his boat, to the nets and his business. But where could Levi go? He couldn´t go back to the tax collectors` office and say “Hey, I want my job back!”. It was gone, and he was long since replaced by someone else who felt very happy to have received the privilege of a secure job. Levi was redundant.

When Levi was called, he didn´t know things would take such a turn, but must have known
it was a possibility. He certainly gave up a secure employment, even if it wasn’t one with the best reputation in town. As he prepared to leave, for his future as a disciple of this man from Nazareth, he was giving a farewell party to his friends. That band of man weren’t of the best reputation, ‘tax collectors and sinners’, but they were his friends. People of doubtful reputation sometimes develop very strong friendships. They hang on to what they have. But Levi chose to leave the friends he had.

We sometimes think it is easier for those who have little to leave it all and follow Jesus. I’m not so sure about that. Having just a few belongings can make those belongings so much more precious, so much harder to give up. Having only a band of rough and tough comrades can make the sense of belonging that much stronger, that much more difficult to give up.

Levi counted the cost, made his decision and followed Jesus. And there was no way back. Come what may, he’d given his life and future to Jesus. And the price he paid may not have seemed very high to others, but to him it was everything.

To be radical for Jesus doesn’t always mean giving up a huge amount, but it always means being prepared to give up everything. And when you can´t trust in secure wages or employment, it means placing your future in God´s hand, and trusting that He’ll be faithful.

Levi´s choice meant a life of doing the work of Jesus, and the joy of seeing the Kingdom of God break forth. But it also meant martyrdom and death at the hands of unbelievers. This scenario is becoming more and more a real possibility to many Christians. Knowing this, may we too count the cost, pay the price, and follow our Master wherever He leads!!

Today's Writer : Goran Andersson Goran Andersson , together with his wife Roswitha, worked as missionaries in Japan from 1967 – 1985. They then pastored a church before moving to Kåfalla Herrgård, Sweden where Goran became Director. They have worked with Ellel Ministries since 2004 and are now part of the team of Ellel Ministries in Sweden.

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