True Confession: I sometimes ignore my cellphone when it rings and beeps and dings.
I carry a cellphone in my pocket, but that doesn’t mean that I’m anxious to answer every call that I receive when I’m having dinner with my wife. I always tuck my cellphone into my pocket when I leave the office, but that doesn’t mean that I always respond to the text and email messages that I receive immediately. I filter calls, and I decide which ones are most important. Every text message doesn’t need an immediate answer – even though we expect people to drop everything else when we send them a text message, don’t we? And that’s what I invite you to think about in this week’s message: “When Jesus Calls”.
Simon and Andrew and James and John were busy people. They spent their days fishing in the Sea of Galilee and often worked late into the day repairing their nets. They were people with busy schedules – who had other obligations – who had hope and dreams that they wanted to fulfill – and who even had obligations to their families. And then one day, Jesus interrupted their lives. Ring, ring, ring…. “Hello….” “Did you know that the Reign of God has broken into the world and it’s time to leave your nets behind?” Ding (the crazy ding that alerts us to the fact that a text message has arrived)…. “God had invaded the earth, and it’s time for you to stop doing what you’re doing and embrace the adventure!”
And, when the cellphone rings, people need to decide what to do. We can send the call to voicemail with the swipe of a finger. We can get really excited that we’ve gotten a call from Jesus, or we can simply ignore it. Text messages can be answered later in the day, sometime tomorrow, or perhaps even never. It’s our choice and we make the decision.
The “call” of the first disciples (Mark 1:14-20) is a challenging story. It’s a story that can truly inspire us to think about people who put everything else on hold to follow Jesus. It’s a story that invites us to think about Zebedee’s “hired servants” who stayed in the boat as James and John walked away with Jesus. It’s a story that challenges us to see that some people are changed by their encounter with Jesus, and other folks simply aren’t. It’s a story that invites us to reflect upon the fact that we’re actually doing God’s work with our own hands when we support local food banks, give winter coats to children, and offer church buildings as a place where community groups can meet – but it’s also a very vivid story that reminds us that, even when we do that, some people simply don’t care.
“When Jesus Calls” reminds us that the stories that we read in the Bible connect with the stories of our own lives and adventures. We’re all busy – just like the first disciples were. We’ve all been given 168 hours each week – and, no matter what we do, we simply can’t expect to be given even one minute more.
And that means we need to make choices.
We need to realize that every telephone calls, every email and every text message does not need to find it’s way into the center of our lives, our marriages, and our family time. It’s OK for us to let our cellphone’s ring or beep or ding go unanswered for a while.
But, at other times, we need to respond immediately!
How will we respond when our busy routines are interrupted by a Man who calls out to us and who challenges us to live our lives in a different way? How will we respond when we hear Jesus say, “God has invaded the earth – and I’m here to call you to embrace a new adventure that has the power to shape your destiny!”