And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.
These are those moments of opportunity when God draws near, when He passes by, when He enters our personal space. It happens time and time again in Scripture, though it does not happen the same way every time. It happens still today, but we don’t always notice. God appeared to Moses in a burning bush, and then He passed by on the mountain. He came in the still small voice to Elijah. He wrestled with Jacob. He visited His friend Abraham. And He came as a man in the form of Jesus Christ and passed by some people with a simple invitation.
Did Levi’s heart burn within him when the Lord passed by? Did something change inside of him when he heard those two simple words, “Follow me”? How we respond can change the rest of our lives. When we’re willing to rise up from what is safe and familiar and take a step in a new direction, when we’re willing to let go of what we have and who we used to be and see what following Jesus might make us into, nothing can ever be the same again. Indeed, we can never be the same again.
When Jesus approaches us in the midst of the ordinary and speaks to us, we have two choices—to get up or to stay where we are. We can obey or choose our own old way. We can have what we’ve always had and do what we’ve always done, or we can go with Jesus into something unpredictable, yes, but so wonderful and amazing, something that will end up being more than we ever thought it could be. To go with Jesus is to embark on an extraordinary life with unique meaning and purpose.
Jesus passed by and called some men to be His disciples. He passed by some lepers and made them well. He passed by a blind man and gave Him sight. He passed by so many suffering and needy people and made them whole. He passed by sinners and gave them new life. And He passes by, maybe more subtly today, by His Spirit and by His Word, and He bids us to come with Him, to find a different kind of life in Him. So when He passes by at different moments of our lives, let’s not miss out on the opportunity to go with Him.