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.
The journey I’ve been on to hear God’s voice and discern his calling for me has not been easy.
I struggle at times to listen clearly, to know where God’s voice is coming from or to follow in his footsteps.
Even when I have decided long ago that Jesus embodies all the passion I have for the issues of the world
and more, I still don’t know exactly the purpose or direction of my life.
I imagine it was not easy for the first disciples of Jesus either.
In the beginning of Mark’s gospel, we hear of Jesus calling out the people who would follow him.
We read of the promise that he speaks to them, the offering of a new life.
They were being drawn away from their ordinary work as fishermen to become ‘fishers of men’.
They were invited to witness and marvel the miracles that Jesus would perform and see the crowds of people coming to hear
the message of their God.
Jesus was inviting them into something more than what had ordinarily concerned their lives, their time, their occupation.
I feel I can strongly relate to the disciples. The calling into hospitality came to me over a simple dinner
and being on the cusp of exploring my faith again in my late teens. I had a compelling experience of God pulling me
into himself. The life of Jesus became real to me. The giving of his life, the compassion of a saving God,
the welcoming love and generosity of a king who dines with his servants.
I encountered deep symbolism of the faith that evening. I had lived with a strong food culture all my life
having Italian descent, yet in that moment of encountering Jesus, I felt God took something that was very simple
& precious to me – eating, and infused his truthfulness and honour in it.
Being at God’s table has looked like alot of new things for me and I have not known which direction it is taking me.
I have learnt new recipes with friends and helped to feed and share meals with my local community.
I’ve been involved with cafe work and meeting the wanderer and street person over tea. I’ve sought to feed
myself well and give generously to my loved ones. I’ve desired more of the space in others lives to listen to their
perspective and know what’s going on for them. I drop into the food pantry and share food rescued from waste and put my hand
to the giving of abundance to those in need. I’ve pursued work in the industry and seek to be better connected
to the origin of food and the ways it is being cooked.
In all of this diversity, the world of food in this modern age is very complex. I have responded eagerly to
God’s calling into this but I am often unsure where that leaves me.
While I have tried to hear where God wants me, I have noticed it has become less about which area of food
I go into. God is speaking to me about the deep transformation and the promise of change that can take
place around the table, in the kitchen place, with others, in the garden or when I eat.
Vocation is not an easy christian idea to understand because it encompasses so much more than we think or know!
God often reveals to us parts of the whole picture.
For me, I know that food is in the picture, but so much more is happening aswell.
The way of hospitality has become the way the Creator God extends himself, his body to me because there is something
more going on that he wants me to know about.
It is a way of opening up my heart, my life, my time and my resources to another. It is putting their tastes and interests
ahead of mine. It is about pulling out your chair and making your guest know you are delighted they have come to you.
It is the attitude of receiving a stranger and treating them as a friend. You will gladly fill their plates,
give them drink or help in any number of practical ways. You may be surprised when they do the same to you, although
you do not expect it.
This calling is simply bigger than me.
There is an urgency in hearing God’s call. When God speaks to us, it is so we can come out of where we have been, and
walk with him into something we have not known before. Sometimes our only way of responding is to walk away from the things
which are familiar to us and towards the direction of where God is taking us.
I love that the disciples did not know what this new life was about. They said yes to God but they took some time to learn
what Jesus was teaching them. They were often held back by their unbelief and showed signs of foolishness.
But they continued to marvel at who Jesus was and grew in understanding of the power and authority of the Lord.
They certainly didn’t know that the man they were following would suffer the way he did.
Jesus invited them to partake in his journey with faith and it became theirs also.
Hearing the call from God affects us deeply. It often involves a sudden response, in faith, and a slow
wielding to our calling and purpose. Even if we may not completely know how we’re going to get there.
– GM, Newmarket Baptist