“Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, Jesus saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’ And immediately they left their nets and followed Him. And going on a little farther, He saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed Him” (Mark 1:16-20 ESV).
When the obedience of faith in Christ has kindled God’s divine spark of eternal life, how exciting it is to see a man or woman surrender his or her life for God’s plans and purposes! And how awesome is the privilege of seeing someone move from being a mere “church attender” to that of being a true disciple of Jesus! Every occasion of having witnessed that amazing spiritual metamorphosis has brought to me an incredible joy that, without doubt, must pale in comparison to the pleasure that God feels when someone turns from whatever spiritual counterfeit for which they had been settling to the one and only source of life and hope that humanity has: that of Jesus Christ.
There are times when God moves in a person’s life and ignites within him or her a passionate devotion that begs to return a harvest of praise and service to the Lord. “And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to Him, He said in a parable: ‘A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.’ As he said these things, he called out, ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear.’”(Luke 8:4-8 ESV).
But though a person may find within him or herself a sense of calling to a certain task or vocation, and while he or she may initially take up the mantle for the task divinely assigned them, at some point along the way, the eyes of the soul perhaps shift, passion wanes, and the calling is forgotten. With such a “cooling of the coals” going on within a person’s heart, he forsakes the path to which God has led him. Just think: If an obedient and trusting acceptance of God’s commissioning on you is a cause for celebration, then the tragedy of your falling away cannot be described with words that human mouths may utter, but only by the tears that our Father sheds in sorrow.
Jesus, having just told a group of listeners this story about the seeds and the soil explained what it all meant. “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard. Then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.” (Luke 8:11-14 ESV).
How sad when a child of God, though called to walk with Him in a way especially designed for her, turns away for whatever reason. It occurs to me, though, that if God’s people remain in love with their Savior and their feet remain faithful to the trail especially chosen for them, they are a truly formidable force. Just consider the implications for the world if Christians would take the Bible’s admonition in 1 Timothy 4:14-15: to not neglect their callings and unique spiritual giftedness to till the soil of the corners of the Kingdom of God to which He has appointed them!
As God calls to you to leave the stagnant and fruitless fields of complacency, will you rise up and go with Him or would you have Him pass you by? It is time to be more than just an “attender of church services” but now become instead a servant of the Living God. Has He placed a need in front of you for which you have the remedy? If He has indeed placed within you a hunger for more than the common life, now is the time for you to step into the role that He has ordained by releasing to Him any self-will, fear, ambition, greed, pride, and even a love for comfort. Don’t wait to follow the Savior. Don’t put off knowing Him better. Don’t delay the fruit He might harvest through your life. Let today be the day you pick up your calling and walk with Jesus.
“As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience. No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away” (Luke 8:15-18 ESV).
(Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 24 ½ years, is the author of Led by Grace, The Fairy Tale Parables, Crimson Harvest, and A Heart at Home with God. He blogs at “unfurledsails.wordpress.com.” Pastor Thom leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.)