08.15.14 by brent hand
So Jesus calls these guys to follow him. Though the Bible doesn’t record them answering verbally, I like to imagine they answered in a grand fashion none the less. This is how I see it: upon hearing Jesus’ call, the soon-to-be-disciples looked down at their full nets, took a deep breath and held it in, enjoying the aroma of stinky fish one last time. Then in slow motion they looked at one another with a look of disgust as if saying “what have we been wasting our time here for?” Then shaking their heads, they fling their nets to the ground. The sound of the nets hitting the boat’s deck is perfectly timed with the music playing in my head and echoes like thunder across the water to the shore where crowds of people turn and gasp to see the fishermen sailing their boat back to the beach at warp-speed. They crash into the shore sending debris and smoke billowing into the air. Then as mothers who had shielded their children from the blast, turn once again to look at the fiery wreckage, they see the figures of titans emerging from the smoke. The men stride down the shore, jaws clinched and shoulders back, with an unblinking stare at Jesus. Then someone starts a slow clap, a killer guitar solo crescendos and there’s fireworks shooting off out over head.
Hey, it could have happened that way. You weren’t there!
Often times our answer to God isn’t as profound as that. But then again God isn’t standing on our front porch. Rarely is His call audible. Often we’re not sure he’s speaking at all. So who can blame us for not saying “YES” to a question we don’t even know is being asked?
Wednesday night, I was having trouble going to sleep. Lauren had fallen asleep long ago (her normal bedtime is around 8:30 as she requires at least twelve hours of sleep each night). My phone had died and was charging on the opposite side of the bed. I had killed the last 20% of the battery on my tablet watching a movie on Netflix. There I lay in the dark with nothing to do but listen to the silence. The TV remote was over three feet from the bed after all.
The silence and darkness would have felt relaxing to me a decade ago. But now? It was weird. I didn’t know what to do without an electronic device to lull me to sleep. I don’t think I’m the only one. In our multi-tasking society it’s hard to just have a moment of silence and not feel like a fish out of water gasping for air. But the noise and clutter we fill our lives with may drown out what God is saying to us, but does it mean he’s not speaking still?
I don’t think God speaks audibly (most of the time) to us. Most of the time when I feel like God has “spoken” to me, it’s just a deep feeling in my gut, or the words of a friend, or a scripture that stood out to me in a new way. If God is calling us, but we don’t slow down long enough to understand it, hear it, and reason it out, is that His fault or ours?
And when we hear him how will we answer? Maybe nothing as dramatic as my opening paragraph, but maybe something at least a little noteworthy. THE Creator of the universe has created us to do something, called us to be a part of the story He is telling. Don’t you think we should answer in a profound way? Not just mumble a yes and go back to our day job. Isn’t there something more we can do?
We’ve all been called. Some will be too busy to hear. Some will be too busy to answer. Some will ignore it all together. Some will try their hardest to follow but never let go of their past. Some will make excuses. Some will say “yes” but change nothing about their lives. Some will make mediocre attempts but nothing out of the ordinary.
But some will make the choice to change the world no matter what it costs them.
Take a few moments right now wherever you are to figure out what God is calling you to do today. Listen for Him. What’s He moving you to do? I guarantee he’s saying something worth our attention. And he’s probably saying something that merits a response from us. Something we don’t have to answer with our words, but with our lives.