One thing that pastors have to get very good at early on is telling their “call” story. This is an essential element in determining as a larger church whether or not that particular person should become a pastor. And so every time an aspiring pastor meets with their Session, their Presbytery and their potential first congregation, they are asked to tell the story of their “call” to ministry.
Sometimes we even get pretty technical in how we judge that call story – saying that it needs to be confirmed by the church (as though we are a committee judging the authenticity of a miracle). The church in the past – and probably in the future – has told many people that their “call” is unconfirmed.
Those moments always make me a little anxious. Who am I to say that someone’s call is not good enough?
Scripture gives us so many stories of call – the call of Noah to build the ark; the call of Abraham to pick up his family and travel to an unknown place; the call of Moses to lead his people to freedom; the call of Samuel to serve the Lord and help build the Kingdom of Israel; the call of Isaiah to speak difficult words of truth to God’s people.
A common theme in most of the call stories we read in scripture is the confession on behalf of the one being called – that they are not good enough… not faithful enough, not brave enough, not articulate enough, even not old enough.
This is no different when we read about the call of the disciples as it comes to us in the Gospel of Luke this Sunday.
You will remember that this summer we are preaching through the stories that are taught here at BMPC to our youngest children – some of the most essential stories of the New Testament.
What better Sunday School lesson than the evocative story of Jesus approaching a group of exhausted fishermen early in the morning, asking them to take him out into the water in their boat so that he might preach to the gathered crowds.
After preaching he again asks a favor of the fishermen, instructing them to drop their nets in the water. Despite their objections they comply and the catch that morning is so great the nets are bursting with fish.
In response to this miracle, Peter – one of these tired fishermen – falls on his knees in front of Jesus declaring as all these other great leaders in scripture did – that he is not “good enough.” And just as God did to those others, Jesus calls him anyway.
May we all seek to find the ways we are being called to be of service in the name of Jesus Christ, just as these fishermen were called. Let us not be distracted by the label of good enough – for we are all in need of the grace of God. It is our recognition of the generosity of God’s grace that compels us to respond when we are called, just as Peter and his co-workers did.