My readings today include Luke 5 and I’m reminded that we are called to follow Jesus, often this calling may require that we leave our comfort zone, it may mean that we leave jobs, family, friends … Everything that we hold onto in this world. Can we “up sticks” and move to where God sends us?
Ruth leaves everything to follow Naomi. Her family, her people, her gods. She is faithful to Naomi and trusts in her God.
But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” (Ruth 1:16, 17 ESV)
When Saul hears about the threats from the Ammonites, he is seized with anger and cuts up the oxen that he is ploughing with. He sends the pieces to the rest of Israel as a rallying call to follow him.
He took a yoke of oxen and cut them in pieces and sent them throughout all the territory of Israel by the hand of messengers, saying, “Whoever does not come out after Saul and Samuel, so shall it be done to his oxen!” Then the dread of the Lord fell upon the people, and they came out as one man. (1 Samuel 11:7 ESV)
Elisha stops ploughing, sacrifices his oxen and uses the yokes to cook the meat. Completely giving up everything to follow Elijah.
And he returned from following him and took the yoke of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their flesh with the yokes of the oxen and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and went after Elijah and assisted him. (1 Kings 19:21 ESV)
When Jesus calls His first disciples they literally get up and leave everything behind. They don’t even know Jesus but are drawn by Him to follow. In Luke’s gospel the fishermen are described as having caught the biggest catch of their lives, but still they leave it. They leave family, friends and a small fortune in fish – security for them and their loved ones.
And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him. (Luke 5:11 ESV)
Later in the same chapter Jesus calls Levi, a tax collector and therefore a rich and hated man. Levi does not hesitate:
After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” And leaving everything, he rose and followed him (Luke 5:27-28 ESV).
As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” And He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” But He said to him, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.” Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Luke 9:57-62 NASB
Can I give up everything that I rely on to follow Jesus? Can I let go and let God today?