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Saturday, January 21, 2012

He Call Us to Himself

“Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him.”
Mark 3:13

When Jesus began his ministry as recorded in the Gospel of Mark, there had already been a series of miracles and large crowds following Him before he chose the twelve. Jesus gave time for the twelve to see and observe what following Him would be like before He asked for a commitment that would change their lives. The International Standard Version, states that Jesus call them “to Himself.”

Notice that the call was first to “Himself,” before it was a command to go and preach, teach, or heal. His was a call to commit to a relationship, to get to know Him, to spend time with Him, long before there was any ideas of them being set aside as a group that would change the world. Christ called them to Himself before there was violent persecution, beatings and the cross that would destroy their hope. He called them to Himself before He ever shared that the “Son of Man would suffer, be killed, and rise arise on the third day and to wait in Galilee.”

Being called “to Himself” meant that they would be leaving their former lives behind, their goals, and their understanding of who had final authority in decisions. For the next three years they would see things that only those who were close to Him would see and hear. Before they would be sent out to preach that the “Kingdom of God was at hand,” they had to realize that they were called to Him, first.

What can we take away from this account? Jesus has called us to Himself. He has called us to commit to a deeper relationship, one of trust, even when things are difficult. He calls us to Himself, when we would want to question why we are going through hardship, difficulties, and stresses that seem to crush us completely. Only when we have nothing do we really find Him sufficient. Only when we have lost the security in our own abilities can we discover Him as Rock and Refuge. Only when we run out of our own answers do we find Him as Teacher. Only as we have been completely broken in grief do we discover Him as our Comforter.

He calls us to Himself, first. Before the crowds and calls of ministry, before the confusion and craziness of everyday life, before our attempts of doing, He calls us to Himself. As we draw close to Him, we worship, we surrender, and we yield to Him our personal agendas of glory, fame, and success defined by the culture around us. He has called us to “be,” not just “do.” As we draw close to Him, there is a transformation in character. As we focus on Him, He can realign our thoughts and give us discernment in choices.

As our classes have started this semester, I have already spoken with several students whose main goal is to complete their studies as quickly as possible, so they can go out and “do” what they sense God calling them to do. I have two words that I would want them to hear. First, God has called them to Himself, to be with Him and to get to know Him before they attempt the doing of ministry. Secondly, if they are not doing what God has called them to do now, it is very doubtful that they will be doing it later. Obedience is not later, obedience is now, where we are in the way that is possible now. God is calling them to Himself, to be with Him and to get to know Him before they attempt the doing of ministry.

He has called us to Himself. Are we learning at His feet like Mary, or are we busy in the kitchen like Martha? The growth and depth of our relationship with Christ depends upon it.


  1. Ed, great post! You and I are thinking in the same direction this week. As I was preparing my blog post on Convenience or Calling I received your RSS feed and your writing affirmed some of the same thoughts I was mulling over so I quoted you. Keep up the good writing my friend.

    David Manner

  2. Thanks, David. I appreciate your input. You have a great blog. I think one of the problems of the lack of theological training in worship leadership is evident when the church becomes "just another gig," rather than a ministry. Your words in "Convenience or Calling" is right on.

  3. David, I've placed a link to your blog on my site so others can follow you as well. Thanks for keeping the focus!

  4. Thanks Ed. I did the same with your blog on my site. Hope to see you at the BCMC in June.