Monday, January 14, 2013

Will you follow Him?

 And immediately he called them; and they left their father Zeb'edee in the boat with the hired servants, and followed him.- Mark 1:20

John and James didn't waste time when Jesus called them. They got up and left everything behind. How crazy must that have seemed to anyone else who knew them? They barely knew this man.  They had been disciples of John the Baptist before he came along.  They had no idea where he lived or even where he was going. They just got up and followed him.

Every day, we are called by Jesus to leave behind things and follow after Him. This call may come in the middle of writing a blog post, or a sewing project, or even in the middle of a work day as it did for James and John. Answering the call requires us to sacrifice something - our time, our convenience, the dreams we once had, the goals we thought mattered, the job that we think we need - without knowing for certain that we will get anything at all in return.  The only promise we have is that Jesus will lead us.

I have, several times, heard the call and responded to it in big ways. I have left home, family, and everything I knew to go and do what I felt God was calling me to do. It has always been a tough journey, full of moments when I didn't know what was coming next and when I didn't know how I would make it through.  Yet these moments of giving a "yes" when it would have been easier to say "no" have always been moments when I've experienced the greatest growth in my faith, learned more about God than I thought I ever would, and deepened the trust that makes it easier to say "yes" the next time.

Looking back on my life, those moments when I said, "no" are some of the moments I regret most. I didn't know what was coming, He did. I said, "no" the night that I felt called to visit my grandfather.  I told myself I would visit him the next day.  He died that next morning.  I said, "no", the day I heard the voice tell me my father was dying and I needed to call him right away. I didn't believe, didn't act, and he died without hearing from me. I will never know what might have been, had I said, "yes".

I have learned that God's calls lead us into uncomfortable spaces, challenge us, and demand more of us than we feel we are ready to handle.  Yet those calls are life-giving, growth-inducing, liberating us from the chains of our self-imposed limitations to discover the heights we are capable of achieving.  They transform us, transform our lives, and rearrange our priorities. What we once thought was important becomes nothing, and what we once thought we couldn't live without we learn we never needed at all.

Jesus is calling you today, just like he's calling me.  Will you answer "yes"? Or will you remain where you are - comfortable, but dying inside, your life passing you by and your true capabilities never fully realized?  It's up to you.

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