May 25, 2020 • Life for Leaders
This devotion is part of a multi-part devotional series:
Following Jesus Today
Click here to view the whole series.
Scripture – Luke 5:27-28 (NRSV)
After this [Jesus] went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up, left everything, and followed him.
In a time of uncertainty, when we’re not sure quite what to do, it’s good to follow Jesus. When we wonder where our lives are headed and what they’ll be like when we get there, it’s good to follow Jesus. When you’re not quite sure what to think or how to live, here’s something you can hang onto: When in doubt, follow Jesus!
Today I’m beginning a new Life for Leaders series called: “Following Jesus Today.” In the next several weeks I want to think with you about what it means to follow Jesus in our world at this time of history. Yes, along the way we’ll consider the particular challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. But this devotional series will be, I hope, not only timely but also timeless. No matter the context, no matter the challenge, no matter the confusion engulfing us, it’s always good to turn our attention back to Jesus. I don’t know what will be expected of me in the future. I don’t know the challenges I’ll face or the opportunities that will be presented to me. But I do know this: When in doubt, follow Jesus!
Of course, for us, following Jesus today isn’t exactly like what it was for people who encountered Jesus in the flesh. For example, when Jesus approached Levi the tax collector and said to him, “Follow me,” Levi “got up, left everything, and followed him” (Luke 5:28). He literally went after Jesus, walking along as Jesus led. Later, Levi threw a great party for Jesus so that he might introduce him to his friends and associates (Luke 5:29).
You and I don’t have the chance to follow Jesus in that way. So what does it mean for us to follow Jesus today? That’s the question I want to explore with you in this Life for Leaders devotional series. We’re going to focus on passages from the Gospel of Luke that show us something about Jesus and what it means for us to follow him. Though we can’t actually walk behind him, going wherever he goes, we can follow Jesus by heeding his call, listening to his teachings, believing and doing what he says, getting to know him personally, learning his way of life, being formed in the image of his character, praying as he teaches us, and joining in his kingdom-centered mission.
Seven hundred years ago, a man living in a small village in southern England offered a simple, heartfelt prayer: “Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits Thou hast given me, for all the pains and insults which Thou hast borne for me. O most merciful Redeemer, Friend, and Brother, may I know Thee more clearly, love Thee more dearly, follow Thee more nearly, day by day. Amen.” This prayer of St. Richard of Chichester has resonated in the hearts of Christians around the world, echoing throughout the centuries. It is my prayer for you and me as we begin this Life for Leaders series. Indeed, in this particular time of history, with so many challenges and opportunities before us, may we know Jesus more clearly, love him more dearly, and follow him more nearly, day by day, even today!
Do you think of yourself as following Jesus in your daily life? At work? In your community? With your family and friends? With your church? Why do you think this way? Or why not?
When you picture someone in today’s world following Jesus, who comes to mind? What are they doing?
What might it mean for you to follow Jesus today as you do your work, interact with your housemates, and engage with others either online or in person?
Use the prayer of St. Richard as a way turning your mind and heart to Jesus. For the next several days, pray this prayer, either silently or out loud, several times a day.
Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits Thou hast given me, for all the pains and insults which Thou hast borne for me.
O most merciful Redeemer, Friend, and Brother, may I know Thee more clearly, love Thee more dearly, follow Thee more nearly, day by day. Amen.
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Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Commentary on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Jesus Calls People at Work (Luke 5:1-11; 27-32)
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.