“Your Levi is your ‘opposite you.’ ‘Opposite yous’ can drain your joy bank. There is a tension, an awkwardness. Anger — low grade or high flame — can flare. Inability to manage the relationship can lead to isolation, prejudice, and bigotry.”- Max Lucado
“Later, as Jesus left the town, he saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at his tax collector’s booth. ‘Follow me and be my disciple,’ Jesus said to him. So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him. Later Levi held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honor. Many of Levi’s fellow tax collectors and other guests also ate with them.”- Luke 5:27-29 (NLT)
In Chapter 8 (“Discomfort Zone”) of How Happiness Happens, Max Lucado talks about Jesus’ call to Levi. Better known as Matthew the apostle, gospel writer, and first generation follower of Jesus. Yet, Pastor Lucado stresses, “before Matthew was stained glass, he was stained merchandise. Before he helped write the Bible, he helped himself to the pockets and purses of his countrymen.”
Furthermore, Jesus saw Matthew’s potential. As a result, Matthew saw redemption in Jesus. Therefore, when Jesus offered Matthew the opportunity to follow Him, Matthew seized it. And later, he held a banquet with Jesus as the guest of honor. Jesus was thrilled!
However, the banquet riled the Pharisees., whose name means one who is separate in Aramaic. Thus, the their world, good people (aka God’s people) circle the wagons. Certainly, they don’t chum around with bad people. But, Max states, Jesus peppered His response with irony as He stood up for Matthew and his friends. Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (Luke 5:31-32).”
So, Pastor Lucado asks, What do you do with a Levi? Max defines your Levi as the person with whom you fundamentally disagree. In addition, you follow different value systems as well as adhere to different codes of behavior, dress, and faith.
Perhaps, the author wonders, the first step involves acceptance, delivered with grace and truth.
Today’s question: Currently, who represents your Levi? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Jesus shared truth, offered grace”