The following day John was again standing with two of his disciples. As Jesus walked by, John looked at him and declared, “Look! There is the Lamb of God!” When John’s two disciples hear this, they followed him. (John 1: 35-37 NLT)
Then Eli realized it was the LORD who called the boy. So he said to Samuel, “Go and lie down again, and if some calls again, say, “Speak, LORD, you servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:8b-9a NLT)
So Ananias went and found Saul,. He laid his hands on him and said. “Brother Saul, The Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the Road, has sent me so that you might regain sight and be filled with the Holy spirit.” Act 9:17 NLT)
Three times, three ways. Men were called to be followers of God. And today, many are still called. Maybe not like Samuel, Andrew Simon or Paul but we are all called. And we are each called to serve a distinct and powerful purpose. We may feel unqualified, in adequate or be reluctant but we are still called. With Samuel it was by a dream. What dream calls you? What special cause draws you to do what you think is godly, holy and purposeful? It may well be a call of God. A chance to do something for His Sake without being aware of it. Do not shy away from your dream if it is a good dream, a goal worthy to pursue. Seek out the avenues that might make your dream come true. Like my friend Elaine who went to Haiti and started an orphanage, or Wendy who quit her job to go to Zimbabwe to work in refuge camps. Or like my friend Mike who started a home group for recovering addicts and Dave who works at a kitchen feeding the homeless. Or like others who simply form prayer groups for women. There is always something that needs to be done, some grand and some simply comforting. Some take a lot of effort, some a lot of time. But each dream is worth fulfilling.
Some disciples are called by the understandings of others, to follow a teaching, a mission or to study the word. As Andrew and the others, John, James, Simon Peter who when they heard the Word, gave up everything to devote their lives to Jesus. You look at the twelve Jesus took on as his “special friends”: four fishermen (a dirty, smelly job), a Tax collector (legalized extortion), laborers and craftsmen. None were people who held prominence in the community. Yet each of these went on to become teachers. Teachers that changed the world. Mark was a mere boy when Jesus talked about creating a new life. Luke wasn’t even in the picture, Paul (Saul) was in Taurus studying to be a pharisee. Jude didn’t even like him. Barnabas was a fan but not in the inner circle. Yet each became important to the message. They were disciples ore who followed the ones who followed Jesus. What Is conveyed is that those who follow a teaching become the teachers of others. Here are two components of Discipleship, 1) having a dream, 2) following a dreamer.
Then you have the third, the reluctant disciple. The one who not only resists the dream and the followers of the dreamers but contend with the dream. Saul of Taurus. The villain of the Way! The one who went looking to quench the dream. This is the one who is hit on the head by lightening. But this man became the most aggressive believer of all. The “converted” disciple is the most energetic of disciples as a rule. As it was with many others who fought with God about doing His will, Jacob became Israel (He who contends with God), As Jonah, as Elisha fleeing Jezebel. Each fleeing the will of God, become mighty in His strength. Now I won’t say that we are as bad as all that, but we each have a tendency to not want to hear what God wants for us and we are reluctant to move out of our comfort zones. We don’t want to take giant steps, we want to stay safe, secure and minimalism our potential. Perhaps you are Ananias, who did not want to meet with Saul for fear of his life. We are the reluctant disciples for different reasons. But we must put these things aside if we are to become real disciples of Jesus.
What we need to become is “converted” to the idea, to the dream, to the dreamers. We need to waken to the call. We need to either have a dream or follow someone’s dream of faith. I am a dreamer, I freely admit that. But I have few who dare to follow the dream. My dream is simple, the unity of Faith. The concept that the church divided is no longer Church but nothing more than broken pots. Shattered vessels lost to any good purpose. My dream is to mend the pots, to reform by union of Faith. We have to many churches, to many divisions, to many half truths being spread. Jesus did not come to divide the people, but to unify them with the Father, to join us to Himself. Why then are there so many “faiths” without true God Faith? Will you join in the discipleship of the One? Will you follow Jesus, do as He commands? Do as He desires? Will you listen to those who follow Him? Will you stop resisting Him?
I listened to those who heard His voice, I walked with those who walked His Way, I gave up fighting Him. Will you also do this? Will you be an Andrew, a Samuel, a Saul of Taurus? Will you be a Francis of Assisi? A Dr. Livingston? A Martin Luther King? A Teresa of Calcutta? An Elaine of Haiti? a Mike who consuls the addicted? Even a Dave who feeds the homeless. Whatever you do, let it be a call of God, a vision of kindness and a grace of mercy.
Adhere to the call, however small or great it may be, adhere to it for as James said do not let your faith die by inaction. Blessing to all.