“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)
Read: Job 26:1 – 29:25
Relate: Over the past couple nights my dreams have been a bit nostalgic. Random people from points in my past keep popping up in those dreams and so when I am wake I have 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 at that new school. 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 my position as a youth pastor in Webster to go work college ministry in 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 at least for a day, Andrew did. Peter has already met his Lord and been promised a greater destiny before that lakeside encounter.
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.
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.