40 WAYS IN 40 DAYS LENT 2015
#5 Hear the Call (Vocation)
Mark 1:16-20; 2:14
As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fish for people.’ And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.As he was walking along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him.
Vocation is not a word I heard a lot (at all?) growing up. Then I got involved at Urban Seed and suddenly the word seemed to be all around me. Still, I’m not sure I ever truly understood what it meant until many years later. I had always wanted to be a teacher, but growing up as the child of two teachers felt I needed to do something else first to really be sure this was what I wanted to do. So I studied Science and travelled and worked at various jobs that funded the former and then I got married. That was the point at which I decided it was time to either do my teacher training or stop talking about it – but to do so I had to leave the best job I had ever had. To be honest I almost didn’t do it. Flash forward 6 years and I am so glad I trusted my instincts and took that new direction. I was asked back to speak to the graduating class of my university recently and began with the response I give whenever anyone asks me if I enjoy teaching – for me, I can honestly say that I love what I do, even on the days when I hate doing it! To me that is vocation.
I’m not sure if the disciples ever thought of their decision to follow Jesus as ‘vocation’, I’m not even sure there was a word for that back in those days (my guess would be not!), but they definitely discovered the meaning of new direction. When Jesus walked along the lake and called Simon and Andrew to ‘Come, follow me’, Marks says that ‘At once they left their nets and followed him”. Did you get that, ‘at once’, not ‘after careful consideration’ or after ‘praying about it’ or ‘weighing the pros and cons’ but immediately. They left everything for a man that uttered just three words to them. Or consider the calling of Levi, a tax-collector, a lover of money, who when called walked out of his booth and kept on going, leaving all that mattered to him (that precious money) behind. Wow!
When I was called to follow Jesus I went, but I’m not sure that in all the years since I have ever really left everything behind? I understand vocation in my professional life, perhaps even in my person life, but in my spiritual life – well that is still a work in progress.
– BP, Newmarket Baptist