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Answer the Call - Saint James Church

Answer the Call

Saturday was Rebuilding Together, and my body is still recuperating from the long day working in the sun.  For those of you unfamiliar with Rebuilding Together, it is a one day version of Habitat for Humanity. Groups work together to make repairs on the home of a family in need.  St. James provided a crew to fix a house in Alexandria for the Khan family. It was a great day of living out the Christian call to serve others. We had a group of 25 people and accomplished a myriad of things including re-roofing the shed, adding a handrail to the front entrance, painting a bedroom, demolishing a back porch, patching a hole in the bathroom, and replacing two doors.  Many of us did not leave until dark.

It is fitting then that the message of today’s sermon was Apprenticing with Jesus: The Call.  We were literally apprentices in his grace yesterday as most of us had no experience in the work we were doing and were successful because we showed up, followed directions, and did the best we could.  Turns out, that was enough. What a powerful lesson. I think we should view discipleship in the same way. We tend to make it so much more complicated. No one wants to do anything unless they are good at it or prepared for it.  How many opportunities to serve go unanswered because we tell ourselves we are not right for the job? Or because we assume there is someone BETTER qualified or MORE talented?

Once I was in a Harris Teeter and a woman in a wheelchair seemed to be choking.  I was afraid to embarrass her, but decided to check on her anyway. Sure enough, she was turning blue.  Based on some old CPR training, I dragged her out of the wheelchair and started doing chest compressions.  I also handed my phone to someone and told them to call 911. For what seemed like forever, I continued doing chest compressions until the paramedics arrived.  The whole time I kept thinking, isn’t there someone more qualified who should be doing this? Ms. Barbara survived, and the guys in the meat department gave me some free ground beef for my heroics.  It’s a great story, but it also highlights the point that showing up, following directions and doing the best we can is often enough. And when it’s not enough, the reason isn’t because we didn’t do our part.  We can’t control the outcomes. But we can control the part we play.

The Bible lesson for today made the same point.  It was the story of Jesus first calling some of the disciples to follow him.  They are fishing. He invites them to follow him and he will make them fishers of humans.  They follow. We know the rest of the story. Christianity grew from a group of nobodies into one of the world’s largest religions.  Why? The first disciples showed up, followed directions, and did the best they could.

The invitation for us remains the same today.  We can change and are changing the world with our presence.  The problem is not our lack of training or talent or preparation.  God consistently shows a preference for working through the least. Re/read the Bible and take note that God seeks the weak to do God’s work as a way of emphasizing just who is responsible for the great things accomplished.  And the problem is not our lack of belief. Goodness knows that the faithful are willing to spout out what we believe and how important it is 24/7. Such beliefs just don’t get that much done. Which means when we don’t see the change we want to see in the world it’s because we aren’t showing up, following directions (by which I mean following God), or doing what we can.  The world is falling apart and it’s not because we are not trained, talented, prepared, or faithful enough. It’s because we aren’t doing anything to stop it.

So, this week step up and step out.  Say yes to something you have been hesitating on.  Trust that God is enough which means so are you. Be the change you want to see in the world.  Be the light in the darkness. Be God’s hand and feet. Answer the call.

Dear God, Bless us in all of our endeavors on your behalf to build your Kingdom come and will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Amen

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