So often as I read and study about people in the Bible I forget that they too were human, just like me. They had decisions to make that often, as humans, must have really been hard to make. But since we know the outcome of their decisions, sometimes it is really hard for us to understand what they were going through and we don't even consider what might have happened if they had made a different choice. I recently was reading about the calls of the disciples. Take Peter and Andrew for instance. They were involved in their livelihood of fishing, probably the only job that they knew, and this Jesus comes along and says to them "follow me". Now following Jesus meant leaving all of what they knew - their nets, their business, their income, their family and friends. This was their life. They could have said no. But we read that they promptly left all and followed Him. Nothing held them back in responding to the call of Jesus. Now just think what would have happened if the security of their lifestyle would have kept them from saying yes. Their lives and influence probably would not have been remembered in history. And more importantly they would have missed the amazing opportunity to live and walk with Jesus. It was this story from Mark 1:16-18 that led Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-1895) to write the words to this week's hymn choice. One day her husband, who was a pastor, came to her and said, "I wonder if you could write a poem for next Sunday morning before you hear the sermon." "I'll do what I can," she told him. He took a Bible and read the account of the calling of Andrew by Jesus. They discussed the coming sermon during supper, and she promised to do her best with the poem he had requested. That night, before retiring, she read the familiar Scripture verses again, and soon wrote down the stanzas which he was to read at the close of his sermon the following Sunday morning. And that is how this week's hymn was written. The hymn is short, but its words are challenging. Do we miss the call of Jesus due to the tumult or distraction of everyday responsibilities in our lives? Do things such as my plans, or my opinions, or my desires, or my habits become our idols? If they begin to dominate our schedule and mold our conduct, they could be. To put anything ahead of loving Christ, and serving Christ, is to allow a false god to crowd Him out of His rightful place. God the Father's design is "that in all things He [Christ] may have the preeminence" (Col. 1:18). If that is not so in our lives, there could well be some idol in the way. May the Lord deliver us from each idol that would keep us from Him. May you be challenged with these words this week.
1. Jesus calls us; o'er the tumult
Of our life's wild, restless sea,
Day by day His sweet voice soundeth,
Saying, "Christian, follow Me."
2. Jesus calls us from the worship
Of the vain world's golden store.
From each idol that would keep us,
Saying, "Christian, love Me more."
3. In our joys and in our sorrows,
Days of toll and hours of ease,
Still He calls, in cares and pleasures,
"Christian, love Me more than these."
4. Jesus calls us; by Thy mercy,
Savior, make us hear Thy call,
Give our hearts to Thine obedience,
Serve and love Thee best of all.
You can listen to it being sung here. LISTEN