Sunday I taught on Simon's call story from Luke's perspective (Luke 4:38-5:12). It is always interesting to compare the accounts of the different gospel writers of the same events. For example, for Matthew and Mark (Matthew 4:18-20; Mark 1:16-18) it is easy. "At once they left their nets and followed him." But Luke offers a few more details that give us insight into the process by which Jesus called Simon in particular.
As I have been reflecting on Simon's call story, I have been challenged to think about my own call story, and the developing process it has been and still is.
My call began at my baptism. I was baptized as an infant, and at that time God promised me that I was His child, and as I grew older I came to realize that God's promise was fulfilled in Jesus. So I placed my faith in Jesus and accepted the name I had been given in my baptism; child of God.
As time has passed, through the work of the Holy Spirit, I have grown in the grace and knowledge of Jesus. I have come to realize that the good things I do cannot make God love me more, and the bad things I do cannot make God love me less. His love is consistent, or as the author of the Jesus Storybook Bible puts it, "God loves us with a never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always, and forever love." This has freed me to really love and serve God and others.
So I no longer (at least most days) seek validation in what I do, but realize that God loves me for me simply because I am His child. This frees me to serve in greater ways. I can serve every person (big or small, rich or poor, important or those on the margins) because God sees us all the same. We are all created in His image, and reckoned to Him in Christ. At the cross, the ground is level.
And this is why I serve as a chaplain in the New Mexico Air National Guard. I serve because God is present and war fighters need to hear of His love and grace, they need to be reminded that God loves them no matter what, and they need to know that Jesus is the proof of God's love. This is not something I knew so well 20 years ago when I first served in the US Air Force, so I would not have been as good a chaplain then, as I believe God has equipped me to be now.
I could go on about how God has pursued me, but I want to invite you to share your own story. How has God shaped you for kingdom service, and what opportunities is He giving you today to serve?