Peter, James, and John are working their “day jobs,” seemingly unaware of God’s persistent call on their lives to become three of the apostles. When Peter realizes that he is in the presence of the Divine, he falls on his knees—not in worship but in confession of his sinful human condition. Peter asks Jesus to leave him because he is not worthy of being in the presence of the Divine.
Despite Peter’s feeling of unworthiness, Jesus calls Peter to serve. And Jesus gives Peter a task with which he is familiar: “From now on you will be catching people.” Peter and his companions leave everything to follow the man who has made them miraculously successful at what they have done their entire lives.
I can identify with the disciples. In April of 1991, I participated in a Walk to Emmaus retreat. At the end of my Walk, I remember saying three words: “Lord, I’m available.” God took those words seriously! Over the next nine years, while continuing to fulfill my role as an executive for a global telecommunications company, a vision emerged to set up an office in South Africa that locally would publish and print Upper Room Ministries resources. I felt a calling to provide Africans with quality, low-cost resources to nourish and feed our spirits and assist us in keeping our daily appointment with God.
Like the disciples, I needed God’s help to make me successful. I was familiar with the task of reaching many people, but I knew absolutely nothing about printing or publishing. All I could do was trust God and allow the Holy Spirit to guide me. Now, Africa Upper Room Ministries has been providing spiritual resources for eighteen years. God called me to follow, and I have a strong sense of peace that the work is exactly what God had planned for my life.
Leading God, help me to follow when you call, knowing that you will help me to serve. Amen.
The theme of calling is continued in this week’s readings. Isaiah has a vision of God on the throne and is terrified because he knows that he is unworthy; yet he is being called by God. The psalmist, traditionally David, praises God for having a purpose for his life and bringing it to completion. Paul echoes Isaiah’s sentiments of his own unworthiness to the Corinthians. While assuring his readers of the reality of Christ’s bodily resurrection, Paul recognizes that he preaches only by the grace of God. When Jesus is calling his disciples, Simon Peter recognizes him as the Lord and cowers because he feels unworthy—much like the prophet Isaiah had done. These readings teach us that God’s call is based not on our worthiness but on our willingness.
Read Isaiah 6:1-13. When have you heard a difficult call from God? How did you come to finally say, “Here I am; send me”?
Read Psalm 138. How have you seen God uplift the lowly and the humble? How have these experiences changed the way you live out your faith?
Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-11. How does your life witness to Christ’s resurrection?
Read Luke 5:1-11. How has Christ called you? Whether or not you feel worthy to the call, Christ wants you to follow.
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