March 03, 2015

To What Is Jesus Inviting You?

Mark 3:13-19

Jesus . . . called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve that they might be with him . . .

—  Mark 3:13-14

I once went on a private retreat with a spiritual director. My prayer was that he'd help me get back on track with Jesus. The schedule was simple: we would meet each morning for an hour. Then I'd spend the day contemplating the Scripture he'd assigned and keep a journal of my reflections.

At our first meeting he assigned a psalm. The day was beautiful, and I wandered the grounds, peacefully contemplating. The next day I expected to share my thoughts from the day before, but he just asked how my aloneness was going and assigned a new text. Every day was the same. I grew impatient, wanting to discuss my reflections. On the last morning he asked, "What is Jesus inviting you to?" I replied, "To do or to be?" He just smiled.

I've spent the past 20 years wrestling with God over this question (see Genesis 32:22-32). But the answer came from Jesus' calling his apostles "that they might be with him."

Jesus calls us to be with him and work with him in his mission. Just as he eventually sent out his apostles, he also sends us. But he promises, "I am with you always" (Matthew 28:20). He is with us, and he wants us to be with him (see John 17:22-24). Discipleship is more than obedience to Jesus. It means walking with him, being with him, living with him every day.

Lord Jesus, give us the desire to be with you every day. Make us conscious that we’re always in your presence, and help us to live accordingly. In your name, Amen.

About the author — Norman F. Brown

Chaplain Norman F. Brown graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, in 1969. He served aboard destroyers during the Vietnam conflict and ashore in San Diego, Calif., as an instructor. By then God had made clear his call to work in pastoral ministry, and Norman entered Calvin Theological Seminary, graduating in 1980. Chaplain Brown pastored churches during his ministry career but spent most of his time as a navy chaplain. During one assignment he served three years at Holy Loch, Scotland, where he and his wife, Ruth, encountered the Iona Community and their emphasis on spiritual disciplines. Chaplain and Mrs. Brown have three married children and nine grandchildren.

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