“That night Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to be his dinner guests,
along with his fellow tax collectors and many other disreputable sinners.
(There were many people of this kind among the crowds that followed Jesus.)”
Mark 2:15 NLT
It’s been awhile since my first day on a job. I don’t know if I’m alone on this, but most of the “first days” I remember were really stressful and awkward. One of these times was especially awkward – I spent the first 15 minutes of my first day walking around the store looking for my trainer whose name was Shannon. Every woman I walked up to wasn’t Shannon and didn’t know where Shannon was. It wasn’t until minute 16 that a man walked up to me and told me HE was Shannon and I was 15 minutes late for my orientation.
So, that was fun.
I bring up the topic of “first days on the job” because this past week I read the account of one of the disciples’ first days. Levi – most of us know him as Matthew – was a Tax Collector. According to research, Tax Collectors were one of the most despised professionals of that time. Most of them were notorious for collecting much more than the required amount of taxes and pocketing the excess. They were also looked down upon by some because they were essentially considered stooges of the Roman government.
Jesus didn’t care. When Jesus offered him a job, Levi was standing behind his Tax Collection booth. Jesus saw him exactly as he was and didn’t even bat an eyelash.
“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 2:14 NIV)
Follow me. That’s it. AND LEVI DID!!?!?!!! He just walked away from riches and a stable government job to follow someone he didn’t really know at all. That’s a pretty bold first day. But it gets even better:
“While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.” (Mark 2:15 NIV)
That night, Levi invited his new boss and co-workers to a dinner at his home. He also welcomed into his home his former tax collector co-workers and other “sinners” that had been following Jesus around. I don’t know about you but I certainly wasn’t throwing a dinner party for my boss and his whole staff and disreputable entourage on my FIRST DAY ON THE JOB. I’m not even sure I would have the confidence to do that on my 200th day on the job.
But Levi was all in. If Jesus walked with them, Levi walked with them. If Jesus ate with them, Levi ate with them. Jesus welcomed them into his ministry, Levi welcomed them into his home.
What a ROCKSTAR disciple.
Am I being that much of a rockstar in my disciple life today? Am I modeling my life – my walk, not just my talk – after the awesome example Jesus lived? Am I living out an all-in lifestyle on my first, 131st, and 100,001st day?
If I’m being honest, most days I’m not quite the rockstar that Levi was those first 24 hours. That will be my goal for the week:
- Look at Jesus’ actions one at a time.
- Imitate them, one at a time, boldly, confidently, freely, and exactly.
Dear Lord, I guess I never really thought about how to apply Levi’s example to my life. I’m so in awe of how you made these TWO VERSES of the Bible transform my mind and give me a fresh way to approach my week. Thank you for creating Levi with a willing and bold heart. Please make mine more like his and, ultimately, more like yours. Amen.