I Want to Be Ready
As Jesus went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him. – Mark 1:19-20 (NRSV)
At 22, I sat in a small group with people mostly 2 or 3 times my age, and our pastor asked us to draw a picture of the life of faith. How did we envision it?
I drew a stick figure at the edge of a cliff being asked to step out into the abyss.
I’m pretty sure I had this story from Mark in mind. James and John mending nets until the call comes, and they leave everything without looking back.
Faith looked like a singular, dramatic act. A moment of daring. A test of courage.
Tomorrow I turn 40. I have yet to walk off any cliffs.
Maybe I missed them. Or waited too long to take the plunge. But my faith life has turned out to look more like mending nets. Working with others to weave them tighter and stronger. Filling in the gaps. Steady labor. Undramatic.
When I read this story now, I can only faintly touch that sense of adventure. That breathless place where any moment the call might come, and I will be asked to do something daring in the name of Love.
But if you’re up there, hearing the Spirit’s voice and dizzy with the height, don’t be afraid. Step out. Take a risk for Love. There are people down here with good, sturdy nets ready to catch you.
Spirit, give us the courage to answer your call wherever it leads.
Vince Amlin is co-pastor of Bethany UCC, Chicago, and co-planter of Gilead Church Chicago, forming now.