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A Simple Call

CrossOver reflection for Week 22 • Beginning May 5, 2019
We Make the Road by Walking, Chapter 35

Rev. J. Mark Galang

Do you know that I was literally born in a parsonage? Yes, I mean literally!

My Dad loves to tell the story that on the night I was born, his favorite TV show, “Tarzan”, was on. He always says that the reason why my Mom did not make it to the hospital to give birth to me was that he was glued to the television watching. So, because of this, I can practically say that I have been in the church since the day I was born!

But when I think of call stories to faith and discipleship, I feel mine is boring. There is little to tell. There is nothing earth-shattering in my encounters with God. I was born in the church parsonage. I just grew up in the church attending Sunday School, VBS, children’s choir then youth group, prayer meetings, bibles studies and a lot of potlucks. I grew up attending church Sunday after Sunday after Sunday mostly because I didn’t have a choice as a PK (Pastor’s Kid), but then that is also how I came to know Jesus, God, and the Church!

The gospel stories tell us that Jesus called some of his disciples in simple and mundane ways as well. According to these accounts, to some, he simply said, “Follow me…”, “Come and See…” or “Let us have breakfast…” and they did. Thus, there seemed to be also nothing noteworthy about their call, but I tell you that Jesus’ call and their response to that call changed their lives forever.

From that day on they became disciples, followers of Christ… 
… they left their boats, their work and their families.

From then on, their lives’ purpose was radically changed…
…from being fishermen they became fishers of people.

From then on, their lives were never the same.

What I am saying here is that when God calls you to faith and discipleship, that’s always a big deal whether anyone recognize it or not.

But again, my guess is that for most of us, there was also nothing earth-shattering about your call to faith. Probably some of you are like me… just grew up attending church and that is how you came to know God. 

Or maybe you have friends or family who had been attending church and you just decided to join them one Sunday and that was that. 

No big deal…

Nothing extraordinary we may say…

But for me, that is exactly why I believe that Jesus’ call is so profound. Behind the simple appearance of the call is a life-changing experience. For when Jesus calls us to faith, he is not just calling us to attend and be a member of the church, but rather he has called us to life anew and to be agents of change and transformation in the world. 

The call can be so simple that some Christians unfortunately take their call for granted.

Yes, the call is as simple as “Come and See…” or “Follow Me…” 

Thus, we can say that we are called to follow Jesus and invite others to do the same. In doing so we are building communities of God’s people who love each other and are committed to changing the world. That is how we transform the world as disciples of Jesus Christ, not by isolating ourselves from the world, not by judging the world, but simply by inviting and engaging the world into the transformative work of God. 

So now, let me conclude by giving this warning. Do not allow the simplicity of the call to discipleship to fool you nor let the familiarity of faith lead you into complacency!  

Be DISCIPLES OF THE RISEN CHRIST who TRANSFORM THE WORLD and invite others to do the same.

Rev. J. Mark Galang serves as Superintendent for the Puget Sound Missional District in the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. 

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