Monday, November 26, 2007

All or Nothing

I've been going through the book of Luke for my personal devotion and study time. It's been a big blessing. In particular, this morning I came across a very simple yet profound description of Jesus' first encounter with Levi Matthew. After approaching Levi and saying, "Follow Me," Luke's next words are sobering.

Luke simply writes, "So he left all . . . "

And herein lies my problem. Could the same be said of me? "So he left all . . . "

Of course, as with a previous post, we must ask, "How much of 'all' is all?" Certainly we see he didn't leave his house, family or friends. The next verse tells us that he held a party in his house for Jesus, and invited all of his tax collector friends to party it up with them. Yet I'm quite sure that Levi left his livelihood behind. The millions of dollars that he illegitimately earned through fraudulent tax collecting were left behind. His wealth was no longer a priority.

I don't have millions of dollars stored away like Levi did, of course, but there are things in my life that I should naturally want to leave behind when Christ says, "Follow Me." You have the same, no doubt.

Yet something struck me as I ran through this little passage. How often do we make such a big deal when Christ asks us to follow Him, feeling as if we're losing out on something when we "leave all"?

I can't help but think of one of my favorite quotes in Steps to Christ. Ellen White writes, "But what do we give up, when we give all? A sin-polluted heart, for Jesus to purify, to cleanse by His own blood, and to save by His matchless love" (p. 46).

That sounds like a pretty good deal to me! We give Christ our sin, our unrighteousness, our filthy rags - and He gives us Himself. He clothes us in His perfect robe of righteousness - He places a Giorgio Armani suit on us - in exchange for the tattered and torn clothes that we are wearing.

Almost in anticipation of our incredibly confused minds, Ellen White goes onto say in the very next sentence, "And yet men think it hard to give up all! I am ashamed to hear it spoken of, ashamed to write it."

Luke didn't lose anything that day when he left all. He gained all.

And what about me?

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