Jesus called his first followers in Matthew 4:18-22. Two guys were fishing. They left their nets and followed Jesus right away. The second two guys were also fishermen. They were in a boat with their dad repairing their nets. When Jesus called, “they immediately followed him…” They even left their dad sitting in the boat. I’m sure their nets still needed work. And what did their dad think?
“Samuel!” God called him three times. It was the middle of the night, a time when most people prefer to be sleeping. And Samuel did not recognize God’s voice. He needed help to find out who was calling his name. Each time he asked Eli (his sort-of step dad) who was calling. After the third time of being woken up, Eli figured out that that it must be God who was calling Samuel.
A heart-wrenching story is the rich young ruler who did not listen to God’s call. Jesus gave him some very hard conditions to fulfill before he could follow: “…go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” The young ruler was not willing.
Like the fishermen, we need to be ready to respond to God’s call right away. Also like the fishermen, we may not need special training before we can follow. Like Samuel, we might need to ask a friend to help us understand that it’s God calling and not just a dream. Like the rich young ruler, we may have to make huge sacrifices before we can follow.
I’m trying to follow. I’m not sure when, where or how. I’m trying to get friends’ input. I’m not sure of the sacrifices it will take, but I want to be ready. Do you?
(Paul Merrill writes here every First Friday.)