31 Maple Street
Bristol, Connecticut USA
February 6, 2022
Rev. Kristen J. Kleiman
Immediately, they dropped their nets. Immediately, they abandoned their boat. Immediately, they left their regular work to follow Jesus.
It seems like a step this big would require a lot of consideration and thought; however without a moment’s hesitation, Simon and Andrew, James and John left behind their old lives for a new life with Christ.
Is this what it means to be Christ’s disciple? Are we, too, called to drop everything, to leave our regular work, our regular lives to follow Jesus?
Jesus’ calling of Simon and Andrew, James and John seems pretty dramatic however as Henri Nouwen writes, “Following [Jesus] does not require dramatic gestures.” (Following Jesus: Finding Our Way Home in an Age of Anxiety, Nouwen, pg 43)
Being a Christian, walking the way of Jesus Christ and being his disciple does not require us to immediately drop what we are doing as we leave the old for a new life in Jesus Christ.
Instead, the way of Christian discipleship invites us to take one step, one step forward into the new. As Nouwen goes on to write, “Jesus doesn’t ask us to jump. He asks us first to move, very, very carefully, step by step by step. The first step is to listen.” (Following Jesus: Finding Our Way Home in an Age of Anxiety, Nouwen, pg 44)
The first step in following Jesus is to listen, listen to God. To be still; to be quiet and know God. To be at home with God. To know we are welcomed; we are safe; we are loved wherever we go in life and on life’s journey.
The first step in following Jesus is to listen, to know we are God’s beloved with whom God is well pleased. And that first little step leads to the next. As Nouwen writes:
The great secret of the spiritual life is that you already know the little steps, even if you don’t know the big ones. You don’t need to know the big steps to take the little steps. You only have to take one step at a time. The interesting thing is that the person who is in touch with the Lord knows what those little steps are. (Following Jesus: Finding Our Way Home in an Age of Anxiety, Nouwen, Pg 43)
You don’t have to know the big steps. Following Jesus does not require big dramatic gestures. It can be an instantaneous moment where you leave your old life behind for a new life in Christ, and it can also be a slow, careful, deliberate journey, step by step by step, growing in your connection with the Lord.
The key is to listen, listen to God’s call, listen to God’s still speaking voice, listen to God’s love, and then you will know, you will know what is the next step forward for you. You will know how God is calling you to follow Jesus.
Simon and Andrew, James and John, their journey in following Jesus Christ, looked like a great big jump, a dramatic gesture as they left their regular work behind to embrace a new life with Jesus Christ. And yet, their journey started with a step. They listened. They listened to God’s voice through Jesus, and they listened to God’s voice inside of them, and they took the step God was calling them to take.
What is that one little step for you? As you pray to God, as you praise God, as you listen, what is that next little step forward in faith for you?
Following Jesus is not about dramatic gestures or big leaps of faith. It is about listening to God, trusting God, and taking the next little step forward on this journey of faith and discipleship.
In this time of listening and discernment, I invite you to be with God, to listen to God and hear God’s voice inside you, calling you to take your next little step as we embrace new life in Jesus Christ.