Windows into the Light by Michael Sullivan

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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Saturday, February 28

After this Jesus went out, and saw a tax collector, named Levi (Matthew), sitting at the tax office; and he said to him “follow me,” and he left everything, and rose and followed him.
—Luke 5: 27-28

I’m lucky to have a place along the South Carolina coast where I go with my family. A small cottage along a creek, it’s a simple place where we can return to a slower pace of life.

What strikes me every time I go is how little I have there. I don’t need any suits. Lots of electronics simply aren’t useful. We check out the books we want from the library. Conveniences are unnecessary. I’m so engaged by our life there, so into reading, cooking, and just spending time with family, that I rarely, if ever, go out and buy or purchase anything.

This simplicity calls to me profoundly— I sense it in the depths of my being. And when we leave our cottage and return home, I’m faced with the constant question: Do the things I have keep me from answering the call to be the child of God? 

The call of the disciples fits squarely within this question of my heart. Sometimes I wonder how Matthew, John, Andrew, and others left all that they had and followed Jesus. But then I think about the lives they must have had, lives with less possessions, fewer commitments, and more freedom. I think about my life at the cottage.

And at once I know that there is a simpler life. If each of us could begin to let go of the many things we possess, if we could let go and let God, wouldn’t it be easier to follow Jesus when he called?

Perhaps we should all take an inventory this Lent. Identify the things in your life that you don’t need—not just clothing and household goods, but the things that separate you from the people you love and the God that loves you. A past argument. A misjudged statement. Lost relationship. Too many Christmases without taking time for a visit. Whatever it is.

If I can leave that little cottage each time thinking that I could live with less, perhaps an inventory of daily life will help all of us find a life of greater simplicity.

Beckoning God, let me see those things that stand in my way, so I can answer the call, rise, and follow Jesus.