They left everything, and followed Jesus. I was reading in the gospel of Luke about when Jesus started calling the first disciples. When He called Peter and again when He called Matthew, Luke writes that they “left everything and followed him.” (Luke 5:11, 28) They left their former way of life – fishing for Peter and tax collecting for Matthew – and physically followed Jesus.
That’s fine for them, but what does it mean to me to leave everything? One thing I’m certain about, Jesus isn’t calling me to leave work, home, and family to physically follow Him on some mission trip. Since His Spirit lives within me, I don’t have to physically go anywhere in order to follow Him. I feel He wants me to follow Him right where I am; at work, home, and in my family.
But what is He calling me to leave behind? For me, I feel Jesus calling me to leave my old self behind. Myself, who reacts stressfully to chaotic stuff at work; myself, who is sometimes selfish and not thinking enough of the needs of others; and myself, who sometimes goes for long stretches of time without thinking of Jesus.
For me, I think it boils down to the call to be in the world, but not of the world; for example, to be at work, but not let work control my reactions to things. For me, to leave work and follow Jesus is to let Him control my reactions to the chaos of work.
I believe Jesus calls each of us in a very personal way; His call to you may be different from His call to me. Do you feel Jesus calling you to leave everything and follow Him? And what is He calling you to leave? What does this mean to you?