Calling Again (John 1:39)

Calling Again

Read: Job 26:1 – 29:25

“Come and see,” he said. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon when they went with him to the place where he was staying, and they remained with him the rest of the day. (John 1:39)

Relate: Over the past couple nights I’ve been dreaming a bit nostalgic. Random people from points in my past keep popping up in those dreams and so as I wake I’ve been thinking over various critical moments in my past. I transferred from Zion to CBC after my freshman year in college. What if I had stayed. What different paths would the journey of my life have taken? How would I I be different now? My father died during my sophomore year. What if I then transferred to Elim so that I could be closer to home and family? My senior year I backed out of co-leading a missions trip. I still view that as a dumb mistake on multiple levels. What if I had not done so? What if I had stayed in Springfield to get my masters degree directly after graduation? What if I didn’t leave Webster to go to Binghamton? What if? What if?

These aren’t questions I normally dwell all that much on. I’m more of a “live in the present, plan for the future” kind of guy than one who is stuck in the past. But for some reason my imagination has been running through a series of alternate history scenarios for me lately. Have you ever been here? Have you ever done that? Is there that one relationship you let get away? Is there that one moment you wish you could change? Is there a calling you once thought you had on your life that you didn’t take and now thought has passed you by?

React: Andrew and his friend are following Jesus. He stops, turns and asks, “What do you want?” Their answer is a cry for deeper intimacy. “Where are you staying?” Jesus’ response is an invitation to come. John’s story of the calling of the disciples is different than the one found in the other three gospels, but the pattern is the same. They long, Jesus calls, they follow. Because of the story the synoptics tell, we know that even though they followed Jesus home that day, they did not yet abandon everything for Him. At some point they would return to their boats for a while. Because of the story told here, we know that when Jesus calls Peter and Andrew up in Galilee, it is not their first interaction with Him. He has already called them to come and, for a day at least Andrew did. And Peter has already met his Lord and been promised a greater destiny.

Ever wonder what happened in between that first and second calling? How much time had passed? Was Andrew ever sitting in that boat mentally kicking himself that he did not stay with the Rabbi? Did Peter ever spend a lazy afternoon skipping rocks on the lake and wondering about Jesus’ promise that he would be different? Jesus called them to come… and then He called them to come again. We don’t know how or why they didn’t stay, but when Jesus began gathering up His disciples, they were the first ones He went to. We don’t have to live in the regret of past mistakes. Jesus calls us to a greater future. We don’t have to wonder if we have missed our calling. He is calling again. As long as there is breath in our lungs we still have the opportunity to follow.

Respond: 

God, I am so grateful that You have called me and that You keep calling me. My past isn’t perfect. You know that better than anybody. You know my regrets. You know my mistakes and my failures. Even more, You know what could have been. But You also know how those decisions made have shaped and molded me into who I am today. You are still working on me and what You make… it is good. I pray that You would continue to call me as more and more, day by day I learn to follow You better. Help me to reminisce with gratitude while living in the present and looking toward Your future. 

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5 comments

  1. I felt a call to be part of a youth missionary organization when I was in my early 20s, to train & go on short term missions.
    I let relationships get in the way of this call &, as I grew older, I regretted it bitterly & felt I’d missed out on what God had called me to do.

    It’s only now, 20+ years later that I understand that God has stuff for me to do now & that wasn’t my one & only shot!
    May we all be freed from the belief that we’ve missed the boat & spend time in regret rather than looking for what God has for us now.

  2. What a timely reminder! Been doing some deep reflections about my own calling and wondering, “if”. Thanks for hearing God in your response.

  3. Thanks for your post. It reminds me of the many times I looked back just wondering who I really am and why I am here on this earth. I have made many mistakes and have done way to many dumb things over my lifetime. What always came back was that God still loved me and would not forget me. He forgave me for my past and gave hope and direction for the future. God is great.

  4. “Jesus calls us to a greater future. We don’t have to wonder if we have missed our calling. He is calling again. As long as there is breath in our lungs we still have the opportunity to follow.”
    Thanks for these words today – I will spend the day with them, feel them and apply them as best I can. You have been His love today.

  5. I love when teachers/preachers expound the Word and present the disciples and others as real people who faced similar experiences and feelings as we do. But I also appreciate when teachers/preachers do not take liberties and present things as fact. Great questions! I have, indeed, asked the question, “What if…?”

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