Okay, based on the good buzz in the room I’d say that most of you didn’t have a hard time thinking of at least one place you’ve volunteered. It might have been harder for some of you who give so much of your time and energy in the church to think of something outside of the church to talk about. But there was a reason that I restricted the scope of my question. Jesus’ launching a big ol’ cannonball into the Jordan River is my fantasy. But here is a bit of New Testament reality: no one ever successfully volunteered to be a disciple of Jesus. Let me say that one more time: In the Gospels, no one ever successfully volunteered to be a disciple of Jesus.
The only people who have ever properly carried the title ‘disciple,’ or ‘apostle,’ or ‘follower,’ are those who were first called by Jesus.
There’s an old Gospel song that goes:
But if our Lord had heard Peter, Andrew, James or John singing that, before they’d finish half a stanza he would have been shaking his head. And when they finished, he would have said, “No you didn’t. You didn’t decide to follow me. I decided to call you, first. And I am glad to say you answered the call and followed. And I’m glad to hear you don’t plan on turning back. But no one decides to become my disciple. I call disciples, and I send apostles.”