A Hero’s Call
Matthew 4:18-20 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers… casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
The Empire Strikes Back (Star Wars) was the first real movie I saw when I was a kid and it left a permanent impression. In the climactic final battle, the hero, hopelessly outmatched, is forced to choose between joining his enemy or certain death. He of course makes the heroic choice, jumping into the abyss that appears to be his demise. I remember wondering what I would do given the same choice. I remember thinking that there had to be an easier way. Maybe he should have just faked joining his enemies, living to fight another day.
I often watch movies this way, wondering if I would make the heroic choice, or if, like a coward, I would choose the easy way out. Likewise, when I read of Jesus’ call of the disciples, I wonder what my response would be. The story is short on details but basically, Jesus just showed up, told Peter and Andrew to drop what they were doing and to follow him. Immediately they left their nets and followed him. They did not stop to question or make excuses. They did not ask if maybe they could just financially support Jesus’ ministry. They dropped what they were doing and they answered Jesus’ call.
When I read the story, I wonder what I would do if God showed up and asked me to abandon my own pursuits and follow him. I imagine a fantastic day with some dramatic opportunity to answer the call and I hope that I would make the right choice. The reality of course, is that this is the choice that I face everyday when I wake up. Daily, Jesus says I am to deny self and follow him. I do not have to wait for some fateful, fantastic day. This choice is today and everyday. This choice is mine to make right now.
How often do I make excuses, choosing the easy way and following self? I am a little busy today, God. Perhaps there is some other way I could support your work, maybe giving financially. Someone has to do that, right? I’ve got some fish to catch and some me to pursue…
Everyday, a hundred times a day, Jesus calls. Follow me. Leave your self-pursuits. Be my hands and feet. Talk to this fellow struggler for me. Show my love to him and listen. Take time to share your story. Tell him what I have done for you.
Everyday, I have this choice. I can answer the call, following God, or I can take the cowardly way out and follow self. I would love to say that I always get it right but of course, I do not. When I get it wrong, there is always forgiveness and my failure serves as a reminder of my own continued need for a savior. This then, is the choice I face everyday, to follow self or to answer the call.