Weekly Devotion for January 16, 2023
By Sue D'Alessio
As Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea – for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and they followed him. (Matthew 4:18-22)
We are still called as disciples to follow Jesus and “fish” for people. Our call comes in many guises – not always as a direct invitation. Our call might come as a yearning or tugging in our hearts, a hope to make a difference, a desire to live a life of compassion, healing, and service, an urging to bring others into a deep relationship with God and a life of discipleship. Author Frederick Buechner states this slightly differently: “Your vocation [call] in life is where your greatest joy meets the world’s greatest need.”
On this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of remembrance, we celebrate the gifts of the way he lived his call to faithful ministry and justice. MLK claimed, "Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice, say that I was a drum major for peace, I was a drum major for righteousness, and all the other shallow things will not matter." He lived as a witness to the energy and even compulsion to give himself whole-heartedly to follow this call. His life of discipleship exemplifies the disciples’ responses to Jesus’ call as they left their boats and nets and followed Jesus into the unknown adventures and challenges and blessings ahead.
We are surrounded by a “cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1) of people across the ages who have lived as disciples and have dedicated their lives to changing the world (or their communities, or the lives of others). Martin Luther King, Jr. invites us to consider our call: "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'"
Your call to discipleship might be dramatic and life-changing, or it may be a quiet path you walk day by day, or it might be intermittent actions you take, or it might be uncertain and tentative. No matter what we experience, God is persistently present, always nudging and guiding us toward hopeful, courageous, and gracious discipleship.
On this day of remembrance and celebration, on this day of your life, how do you feel called to follow Jesus? What one small action might you take today to make a difference in one person’s life? Where do your greatest joys meet the world’s greatest needs? How might you be called to be a “drum major” for peace and justice and righteousness?
Call us, God, to follow your path toward wholeness and holiness and healing in our world. Help us to live each day to make a difference, by a smile or kind word, or by a dramatic commitment and action. Guide us on your paths of compassion, grace, peace, justice, and righteousness. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, the one who calls us into discipleship. Amen.