The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 6/26

Posted on | June 26, 2015 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 6/26

Scripture reading: Matthew 8:18–22; 9:9

The Call

Follow me and I will make you fishers of men. (Matthew 4:19)

The first film in The Lord of the Rings trilogy opens with what is one of my all-time favorite scenes. Frodo and his friends are enjoying a birthday party for Bilbo Baggins in the Shire. Everyone is happy, and life is as it should be. But suddenly Gandalf appears, knocking at Frodo’s door. He has an urgent message that goes something like this: Life is not what it seems. This birthday party is really nice and all seems peaceful but don’t be fooled. Evil forces have been released, and they are headed this way. There is a battle of epic proportions going on, and the future of Middle Earth is hanging in the balance. Frodo, you have the ring! The destiny of the world is in your hands.

It takes three large volumes for J.R.R. Tolkien to describe what happened next.  Frodo reluctantly obeyed the call that he had received and began a journey that ultimately resulted in the salvation of the world. Often during his long ordeal, Frodo would scratch his head and complain, “Why was I chosen to carry the ring?  Why me?” Yet he remained true to his calling, and his obedience brought blessings to all of Middle Earth. It all began with a knock on the door and a call to follow.

Because Tolkien was a Christian, I can’t help but wonder if he was thinking of the fourth chapter of Matthew when he described Frodo’s call. Jesus stepped onto the beach of Peter, Andrew, James and John. Uninvited and unannounced, he just showed up. It was a beautiful day for fishing and friendships. But Jesus had an urgent message for these fishermen.   Life is not what it seems. Evil forces are loose in the world, and they are headed our way. There is a battle going on, and the future of the world hangs in the balance.  And you, Peter, James, John and Andrew, have been chosen to lead the movement that will save the world. “Follow me!”

These four fishermen heard the call that day and responded. They may have wondered why Jesus chose them rather than some other fishermen further down the beach. But questions like this seldom are answered in this life. As they set out on their journey, they had no clue where they were going, what they would do, how much it would cost, or the dangers involved. They only knew that the one who called them was worthy of their love and their deepest trust. So they left everything and followed the call.

American culture and often the American church (!) glamorize independence and self-initiative. We exalt the spirit of volunteerism and encourage young people to create their own destinies. And we often preach on the importance of choosing Jesus. But how differently things work in the Kingdom of God! He is the Author of the story. He writes the script. We don’t choose him as much as he chooses us!  Jesus put it this way:

_ You did not choose me but I chose you and appointed you that you should  go and bear fruit. (John 15:16)

_ No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. (John  6:44)

The most important question in life is not “Have I chosen Jesus?” but rather “Has he chosen me?” Stop trying to write Jesus into your script and allow him to write you into his! After all, history is his story not yours.

 

Our Lord’s first obedience was not to the needs of men, not to the

consideration of where he would be most useful, but to the will of his Father. . . .

The need is never the call. The need is the opportunity; the call is the call of God.

—Oswald Chambers

 

point to ponder Did you choose Jesus, or did Jesus choose you?

prayer focus Ears to hear the call to follow Jesus.

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