- You’re standing in the narthex at your church when someone asks you to join a weekly Bible study? What’s the first thing that crosses your mind?
- Vincent de Paul needs volunteers to help move items for the poor this next weekend. Do you consider how you can rearrange your schedule and pitch in, or do you automatically dismiss the request?
- Your parish is offering a retreat a month from now. Will you give it serious consideration?
- Your co-worker looks like she’s having a bad day. Do you reach out to her, or is it better not to get involved because you’re too busy and it’s none of your business anyway?
In today’s Gospel from Matthew (Matt. 4:12-23), Jesus calls out to Simon, Andrew, James, and John — asking them to follow him. They likely knew enough about Jesus to realize he was someone special, but taking after him was a huge step, just the same. They would have to leave the life they knew, their means of living, and their families. Matthew tells us they left their nets and boat at once. When Jesus calls you, how ready are you to drop your net?
Not every request to join a group or help people in need is going to be Jesus calling, but some people seem to have decided to say “No” even before ever hearing the question. They live as though their life is planned out and they don’t make exceptions except in special cases — and their in-box doesn’t have a God slot.
After all, we’re taught by the time-efficiency experts to learn to say “no.” We’ve got jobs and families, and life always seems much too full to put anything else into it. But if that’s the case, how will we ever start to really live? Have the golf outing, cruise vacation, or time with the grandkids become our highlights? How will we come to know lasting peace and joy? Being a Christian and yet never allowing the Spirit to re-direct your life is like going to the Grand Canyon and then sitting in the parking lot. You just can’t see it from there. You need to get close to the edge.
What will it take for us to become net-dropping-ready disciples? For me, it was falling in love with Jesus. He was the only one with the words of eternal life. He was the one who made my heart sing, gave me meaning and purpose, and gave me hope. I never lost my hunger for Jesus, but I’ve been tempted by substitutes. I suppose one answer, then, is not to fill up on junk food. Secular living can suck the spiritual life out of you. And don’t get too comfortable sitting in the car when awesome possibilities await you. But we’ll have to let go of our hold on life and our routines to find out.
I want to be ready for God every minute. How about you?