Most, if not all encounters with God start with a, “I was minding my own business when…” Minding your business meaning living your life, doing what you do. Then suddenly, God appears, almost out of nowhere, and He calls you for one reason or the other, but mostly it’s to draw you and others closer to Him. I find it interesting, almost astonishing how the twelve disciples were called. They were minding their own business, busy making a living and when Jesus asked them to follow Him, they left what they were doing and followed Him on the spot.
As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen, “Come follow me, Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in the boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
You would think that Jesus would give them allowance to sort out their life and livelihoods and at least tell them something like, ‘Follow me in two weeks’. In our age, we would prefer God to call us after we’ve gotten our stuff together, after we have made just enough money, when we have talked with our spouse, parents, boss or whomever first, or after we have lived life to the ‘fullest’. But God does not call you at your convenience, He calls you at the right time. And usually, that means stopping you at your tracks.
When God calls you, you do not have to be a saint, ready awaiting Him at the peak of the Himalayas. Your life can be in such disarray and still God calls you. You might be rough around the edges and still God calls you. In fact, the twelve disciples were the most unruly of characters you could ever think of. Simon Peter actually says to Jesus, “Go away from me Lord; I am a sinful man!” Luke 5:8 but Jesus calls him anyway.
Here’s a glimpse from J.Reed’s Christian Expositions on the flaws of some of the twelve:
- Peter– impulsive, longed to be well thought of
- James and John– boisterous fervent, intolerant and selfishly ambitious
- Thomas– had a gloomy, pessimistic, intense disposition.
- Matthew– Greedy, an outcast
- Philip– rather hesitant and lacking confidence
- Simon the Zealot-an extreme nationalist
- Judas– devious, secretive, blinkered and materialistic
- Thomas– could be self-centred and resentful
- All had in common– slow learners and not spiritually mature
When God calls you, it doesn’t matter if you are doing the most natural thing like sleeping as Samuel was, it doesn’t matter if you are on your way to commit something vile as Saul was, it doesn’t matter if you are a bit insecure and unprepared as Moses was, it doesn’t matter if you are looking for excuses like Gideon was, it doesn’t matter if you are trying to run away like Jonah was, it doesn’t matter if you denied Him before like Peter did. It does not matter.
When God calls you, your circumstances don’t matter. It didn’t matter that Abraham was a pagan, it didn’t matter that Joseph was a prisoner, it didn’t matter that Rahab was a prostitute, it didn’t matter that David was a Shepherd, it didn’t matter that Jeremiah was still an embryo, it didn’t matter that Esther was a slave. And it certainly doesn’t matter whatever circumstance you are in.
When God calls you, He does not need to consult you or check your calendar. When God calls you, it is always a ‘Yes’, ‘Now’ and ‘Amen’ never a ‘Maybe’, ‘Later’ or ‘We’ll see’. Because when God calls, what else can we do but respond?