Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he 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.
I will never understand why God called me to follow him. I remember I used to go to church and sitting in one of the pews I used to look around at the people praying, some for hours, and they seemed so much holier than me, and I used to think: “Why me, Lord?” Until one day he said, “I like your sense of drama” and I’ve never been sure if he was joking or not.
I will never entirely understand why I agreed to follow him either. One day he told me to leave everything and follow him, and although I didn’t drop everything “immediately” as Simon and Andrew and James and John did in today’s story, the decision was still made pretty rapidly. Most people thought I was being an idiot. Ah, well.
But although I don’t understand either the call or the response to it, I’d like to attempt an explanation for the sake of those of you who wonder how this works. And the reason for doing this is because many ask me how to discern God’s will for their lives, whether he is calling them to priesthood or full-time ministry or whatever.
The short answer is that you just know. It is like falling in love. You might meet a lot of people that you are attracted to, and even imagine that you are in love with them, but when you meet the right person, everything those romance novelists write about actually happens. The sparks fly and you know that this is the real thing. It’s kinda like that with God. You just know.
So while you might need to discern where exactly your calling lies, if God calls you to follow him, you hear him clearly. And there is this accompanying desire to follow him that is simply overwhelming. It doesn’t fade or go away. And then he makes it happen. It’s the one way you can be sure that God is doing this when he makes it all possible. I asked for signs and he gave me plenty, including permission from my wife.
Having said all that, let us be aware that ALL of us are called to follow Jesus, the only difference being that we don’t quit everything to do so.