They leave everything. That’s what strikes me. Peter and
Andrew, James and John leave behind everything they’ve
ever known—the boats and nets they employ to make a living,
their families. They leave all behind at the words of Jesus:
“Follow me.” They seemingly give no thought, no deliberation,
no time for reflection. They go “immediately,” leave everything
they’ve known “immediately.” What special quality does Jesus
radiate that they immediately abandon all else?
I’ve never felt such a conviction, one that seizes me and
leads to immediate action. I deliberate and prepare and worry.
The knowledge of who God is, my light and salvation and
stronghold and so much more, gets me there eventually; but I’m
not the spontaneous type. I’m not sure I’d ever drop everything
on a moment’s notice. And that makes me afraid—afraid that I’m
doing something wrong, afraid I’m missing something, afraid
that I let fear keep me from God’s plan for me.
“Do not be afraid,” God’s messengers so often tell God’s
people. But I do fear. I often fall into the trap of believing that
I am not the “right” kind of Christian—but Jesus died for me
so I am good enough because he is good enough. He called
working-class people from their boats. They left their nets and
I also tend to let my fear paint pictures of everything that
could go wrong, forgetting that God is bigger than any possible
difficulty. I allow my fear to dictate my action rather than God.
Lack of conviction and fear of action! If we can respond
readily to God’s call, we can release our fear of missing out,
leave behind our nets, and follow into a future of promise. God
is calling. Will we listen?
Lord, give us the courage to fight our fear and listen to your voice today. Amen.
The image of light figures in three of the texts. Light not only illumines but brings a changed situation. The psalmist’s confession links light with salvation. The Gospel lesson expresses deliverance in terms of the nearness of God’s reign, which overcomes diseases and distortions. Light permits well-being. Light is the mode of God’s presence.
• Read Isaiah 9:1-4. When has God called you out of the darkness of an old habit, a familiar circumstance, into the light of new opportunity for ministry?
• Read Psalm 27:1, 4-9. Do you feel more comfortable talking with God about your joys or your pains? Is there need for more openness in either?
• Read 1 Corinthians 1:10-18. In your faith community, when have members found themselves at odds over priorities of no eternal value?
• Read Matthew 4:12-23. Put yourself into the story. What do you hear, see, feel, or smell? How have you answered the call of Jesus?
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