When I was 19 and just out of high school, I thought I wanted to be a elementary school teacher. I figured if I was going to teach, I should have some experience working with kids. I approached the children’s pastor at my church about volunteering in the kids ministry.
This pastor, a guy named Rod, who I consider one of my first mentors, called me up. He saw something in me I didn’t see in myself, so he offered me a job. It wasn’t much — just a few hours a week, but that part-time job became a calling. That calling became my career. Twenty-five years later, here I am working within my calling in my church.
Picked out. Invited in. Called up.
Jesus, during his ministry on earth, consistently picked people out, invited them into community and called them up to greater things. It’s the story of Martha, Mary and Lazarus. It’s the story of Jairus and his young daughter. It’s the story of Jesus calling the disciples.
It’s the story of Jesus finding Peter.
Peter was a fisherman by trade. One morning, as Peter was cleaning his nets after a long night of work, Jesus “randomly” borrowed Peter’s boat to use as a podium as the crowd gathered around. Out of a community of fisherman and their boats, Jesus picked Peter out.
After teaching the crowd, Jesus asked Peter to push the boat out a bit further, and he commanded Peter to cast his nets again. Reluctantly, Peter obeyed and to his amazement, hauled in an amazing catch of fish. During this process, Jesus invited Peter into community. He began with Peter’s friends and partners, James and John. Jesus expanded the group to the twelve disciples we think of today.
Called up to greater things.
Jesus, doesn’t end there, though. If Jesus simply picked Peter out, and then he invited Peter into a group of new friends, it would have been a fine story. What makes any story special is the ending, and this story is no different.
Peter was overwhelmed by the catch – especially since he doubted Jesus from the beginning (What can this Rabbi know about fishing?). Peter fell to his knees in repentance. Jesus responded with one of the greatest lines in the Bible.
Jesus brushed aside all of Peter’s concerns by saying, “Don’t be afraid!” Then instead of calling Peter out for his lack of faith or sin, Jesus says, “From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” (Luke 5:10)
Our culture celebrates the call out. Twitter is at it’s grimy best when everyone is pointing out everyone else’s faults and failures. There is a time and place to call out the sin and injustice in the world, but we too often find joy in destroying people’s lives.
The beauty of the gospel is hope. In spite of my sin, my failures, my faults, there is hope for my future. As a follower of Jesus, I am called to both accept the gospel for my own life but for others too. Just as much as I need hope, so does my neighbor. I need to be willing to cover the mistakes of someone else with forgiveness.
The gospel, this hope, is more than just forgiveness. It’s a step further. I am challenged to call those around me up to greater things. I should see something in them that they can’t see themselves, and then urge them on to bigger things. I should point out the work of art they are.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is found in the book of Ephesians. Ephesians was a letter written by the Apostle Paul to the church founded the city of Ephesus. The letter centers on the idea of how we are to get along with one another. In Ephesians, Paul has this to say about each of us,
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” -Ephesians 2:10
You are a masterpiece. I am a masterpiece. It’s an unbelievable thought. God looks at you and me, and He sees us as we will be. He sees perfection. God doesn’t see the mistakes, failures or past. He sees you as forgiven – now and into the future.
I wrote this in a past post, but it needs said again. God is more concerned with your future than your past. I don’t believe I am a masterpiece because I know my past. However, if God is true to His word, then as a believer in Jesus, my past is not just forgiven but forgotten too (Psalm 103:12). With my past forgotten, God looks toward my future.
This is how God sees you as a masterpiece. God has forgotten your past, so He sees you in this moment, but He also knows your future. God knows all the amazing things you will do. It is what God created you for.
Since you are a masterpiece, then go on and do the good works you are created to do. It’s what God has planned for you. It’s the future God sees in you.
Called to call up.
Calling others up is part of the call of God on your life. It’s part of the work you are to do as God’s masterpiece. Calling others up to greater things is the future God sees in you.
Remember, anyone can call someone out. It takes someone special to call that same person up to greater things. Years ago, Pastor Rod called me up to something greater. Thank God he did.
Who will you call up today?
Consider this your call up for the day.