In a world of competing voices, which one wins? Sometimes it is the loudest, other times it is the most urgent, and still other times it is the most well-reasoned. As I regularly reflect on how to reach the many students on Duke’s campus with the message of Jesus, I often feel caught in a competition of those very competing voices, and I wonder if the students are listening. It is clear that they are, but it is not so clear to whom they are paying most attention. More importantly, what voices can get them to act?
This Sunday’s Gospel recounts the call of the disciples, which has long been a source of amazement to me. That the 12 actually heard Jesus in the cacophony of their busy lives is miracle number one. That they found him credible is miracle number two. Miracle number three is the most amazing – that they followed him! We tend to make life in Jesus’ day so different from our own so that we can look on this story and imagine that somehow it was easier then. Maybe what we are really trying to say is that somehow it has to be impossible now. That makes it safer, the call of Jesus becomes more of a metaphor and less urgent. But what if we too are challenged by the real call of Jesus? Would we actually hear him? Would we find him credible? Would we drop all others and make him the first priority which drives all of the other things we do?
To not hear, find credible and follow Jesus is not a zero sum prospect. Let us not kid ourselves. If not Jesus, we are certainly hearing another call, finding it credible, and following it for sure. Nature abhors a vacuum, and in the absence of following Christ, we are certainly following someone else, regardless of how enlightened we may believe ourselves to be. Take some time in quiet in the coming days to allow the noise of life to subside, and ask yourself the challenging yet most important question of all time: whose voice has won your heart?
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