March 24, 2017
An Uncommon Calling
“As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people’” (Mark 1:16–17).
Friend to Friend
I imagine it was an ordinary day, not all that different from most of our days.
Up before dawn. Stumble around getting dressed in the dark. Make a beeline for the programmable coffee pot.
Stop. Let’s just take a moment to thank the Lord in heaven for programmable coffee pots. Yes, and amen.
So maybe Simon Peter didn’t have a programmable coffee pot. But he must’ve grabbed something to eat and drink before he headed out the door for another long day of fishing.
That was his occupation. No college degree required. It was hard, smelly work. But it paid the bills. And one can’t be choosy when it comes to paying the bills.
I can’t help but wonder if Simon ever dreamed of doing something more noble, more—how shall I say?—aromatic. But fishing was his calling.
Then an ordinary day turned extraordinary with the visit of a rabbi.
Come, follow me, the Rabbi said.
No introductions or small talk, at least none Mark recorded. Instead, a radical invitation. To leave one calling for another. To abandon fish for people.
The Bible says Simon packed up and followed Jesus “at once” (v. 18). No hesitation or second thoughts.
But I imagine his lack of doubts in that moment were multiplied in countless moments yet to come. Like when the religious leaders of the day mocked Jesus’ unlikely choice of disciples. When naysayers questioned the sanity of a fisherman who claimed that Jesus was God.
I know what it’s like to have someone question my calling. The man who questioned my speaking ability or the woman who criticized my writing. Not to mention the children who gripe and whine nearly every day about what I don’t do to their complete satisfaction.
It’s never fun to be on the receiving end of hurtful words. I may act tough, but the truth is criticism usually stirs up questions and self-doubts about my calling.
And yet the calling wasn’t mine. Just as Jesus stood on a beach and spoke to a fisherman, Jesus stands in front of us and speaks the same words:
Come, follow me.
The calling has nothing to do with our qualifications. Jesus didn’t choose me because I was polished and professional. He chose me because He wanted to. And He’s done the same for you.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).
Those are Peter’s words, spoken years after Jesus called him out of a boat and into discipleship. Follow Jesus he did. He may have had moments of doubt, but they were soon overshadowed by the confidence that comes when you know your calling is from God.
A chosen people. A called people. Peter. And you and me.
Criticism and questions are part of the path. But if we keep our eyes focused on the one who leads the way, the voices of naysayers will fade away.
Dear Lord, I stand on the beach along with Peter and hear you offer your invitation: Come, follow me. I long to follow you, God! But I doubt my worth, my place, and whether or not I have what it takes. Give me confidence in YOUR choosing, God, that I may follow you faithfully wherever you take me.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Today, spend time considering and embracing the fact that our God has called you to be His. His! Relish His choosing, and find new confidence in it.
More from the Girlfriends
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Originally published Friday, 24 March 2017.