The call

Pencil Preaching for Monday, January 10, 2022

"This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand" (Mark 1:15).

1 Sam 1:1-8; Mark 1:14-20

Because uncertainty creates stress, most people strive to build order and predictability into their lives.  But there is always a zone of uncertainty that reminds us we are never fully in control. God seems to be present in this zone, surprising us, opening up unforeseen opportunities, turning interruptions into graced connections.

Jesus chose fishermen for his first disciples, men whose livelihood depended on the open waters and hidden riches that swam beneath the surface, filling their boats one day and eluding them the next. Peter, Andrew, James and John knew the zone of uncertainty well and therefore were perfect companions to Jesus as he proclaimed God’s mysterious kingdom. Some days there would be a great catch, the next day nothing but suspicion and rejection as Jesus moved from town to town in the lake country of Galilee.

As Jesus’ ministry moved south toward Jerusalem, apparent success turned to failure and apparent failure revealed a strategy of sacrificial love that would lead to the cross, but then to the triumph of the resurrection.  Their image of the Messiah was transformed into an experience of servant leadership, of God’s way of making the first last and the little great.

Discipleship asks us to trust God and then go with the flow. Grace enters and often intersects every moment, every relationship and every choice we make. Each day becomes an adventure. We set out to do one job and end up doing another. We look back on the day and find that what we thought was important and necessary was not, and what at first seemed a waste of time yielded insight or a chance kindness that was multiplied and passed forward in ways we cannot measure. 

Little could these simple fishermen have imagined the direction their lives would take when they said yes to a hill country carpenter passing by their boats that day. Our lives hold the same promise. Our part is to be available, generous and open. God will do the rest.

Reprinted from 2016

Pat Marrin

Pat is the former editor of our sister publication, Celebration, and he also served as NCR cartoonist. After retirement in 2016, Pat continues to contribute to NCR with his Francis comic strip and Pencil Preaching. Contact him at patrickjmarrin@gmail.com


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