Our scripture texts these last weeks have highlighted Jesus calling the disciples. He called Simon and Andrew who left their nets as Jesus proclaimed “Come and I will make you fishers of men”. The he called James and John, also fishermen, who left their father and heeded Jesus call to “follow me”.
Curiously, Jesus still calls “follow me” and we have choices to make. What does it mean to follow Jesus. Are we, like those first disciples being asked to give up our livelihood, our families, our identity, to become followers of Jesus. What choices must we make? Our call, and our response can take many different forms and shapes. God’s call to us is as individual as we are.
I believe God calls people and places them where they are needed. As a pastor, I have seen that repeatedly. A teenage driver going too fast misjudges a turn, hits a tree and ends up in the intensive care unit. On call that night is an incredibly gifted and talented surgeon. The paramedic that just happened to be there when the elderly person fell and needed immediate attention. The neighbor that just happened to stop by when a friendly face was sorely needed or depression was sneaking in.
Jesus calls us, perhaps not as dramatically as those first disciples, but certainly with the same admonition to follow him. We are all gifted and talented in many ways and God calls us to use those gifts in ways that honor him. Perhaps we have a gift of hospitality, then let it be used to make our life, our church, our community, more hospitable, more friendly. Perhaps organization is your gift. Then use it to help organize events or perhaps files or paperwork. The possibilities are endless.
We at St. John’s are blessed with people that have an immense variety of gifts and talents. We are, perhaps gradually, attempting to identify some of those people and gifts that can and will grow disciples for Jesus. It may be leading a study group or being a greeter. It may be focusing on our youth programs or developing a senior event. It may involve helping strengthen our denominational ties by participating in wider church events.
Maybe it’s as simple as inviting a neighbor to church or becoming more involved in the food pantry or crop walk or perhaps a new endeavor to provide healing and help and hope to a hurting world or maybe the person next door.
I firmly and sincerely believe that God continues to call, sometimes in that “still small voice” and sometimes in that gentle nudge, and sometimes in that unmistakable sign or event that hits us squarely alongside the head and grabs our attention. I am also convinced that if God calls us to a task, God will equip us to perform that to which we are called.
As we face the challenges that lie ahead, let us be attentive to God’s call in whatever form it takes. May we listen carefully and be willing to follow where he leads. May our response be “Here I am, send me”
Blessings and love,