Invited to Follow

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.

 

When Christ comes along,MSH29

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.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

Give Ear to Hear

“So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him and said, ‘You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.” – (Acts 11:3)  Though this may not sound like much to us today, at the time, the Jewish believers were shocked and confused at the potential scandal that Peter would dare enter the home of one who was considered unclean.  Far worse, he had not only gone into the home, but he had eaten there – which was a huge cultural faux pas at that particular point in history.

That being said, the early followers of Christ did something very right – they chose to hear him out – to truly listen to what he had to say first, before they began throwing stones.  As Peter shared with them, all that God had shown him, they were in awe and realized that God had sent His Holy Spirit and the message of salvation for all people, not just the Jews.  “When they had heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, ‘So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.” – (Acts 11:18)

What if all people in the church were given the same opportunity to share their story?  Imagine the misinterpretations that would become clear, and the skewed perspectives that might be seen through His lens rather than our own…  Perhaps the solution can begin with each of us.  If we are uncertain about something that another says or does, we can go directly to the source and ask for clarity with kindness.  Humbly, we can seek to understand.  Beyond that, we are meant to extend grace to one another.  Each of us are in the process of being made more like Him.  However, not one of us has yet arrived.  Some days will be better than others, and on those “other” days, grace is the best gift that can be given.

Give ear to hear,Give Ear to Hear

what the heart does hold;

the unspoken,

the truth to behold.

Only by grace,

will story be known;

in the safety,

where kindness is shown.

Let our hearts hear,

what others need speak;

so truth is told,

when answers, we seek.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace, and that no matter what we have done, we can always seek Your throne.  Thank You that You receive us as Your children, covered and cleansed, the moment we turn away from our sin and toward You.  Forgive us for not extending grace to others, as You extend it to us, and teach us to ask if we have questions, and to give grace and listen.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we may move as You call us to move.  Help us to lavishly love and extend grace in such a way, that others are pointed directly unto You.  May many come to know You as Redeemer and King.  In Your mighty Name, Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8