or what are we looking and listening? A biologist walking with a friend in the city asks, “Do you hear crickets?” “No, how can you hear anything over this traffic?” Then the biologist drops a coin and people all around stop and look. We hear that for which we are listening. We see that for which we are looking.
Back in C.B. radio days truckers used a term for folks with antennas who would not respond to a call, “They have peanut butter in their ears.” Their radio was off. They did not “have their ears on.”
A teenager in love for the first time romances his date late into the night at their prom. When he gets home his mother asks if the band was good and who else was there and the young man does not seem to remember--- He only had eyes for his true love.
In our story Jesus has been baptized by John and is beginning his period of active ministry by calling followers. He went to Galilee and found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Jesus did not offer him an armload of theological encyclopedias, or job security, Jesus only offered himself. And Philip responded affirmatively by instantly becoming a recruiter for additional followers. Philip found his friend Nathanael and encouraged him to become a follower of Jesus. Nathaniel was reluctant at first and asked questions, but Philip simply said, “Come and see.”
Nathanael was the only one called who seemed the least bit reluctant. Jesus must have sensed that and gave him an especially warm greeting, “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” Nathanael then asked somewhat apprehensively, “How do you know me?” “Jesus answered and said, before Philip called thee , when thou was under the fig tree, I saw thee.” This is a first century Jewish euphemism that means, I saw you studying the Scriptures, perhaps the verses prophesying the call of the Messiah. Anyhow, this is all that it took to convince Nathanael: “Rabbi, thou art the Son of God”, he responded. Don’t we admire folks who can have their expectant ears turned on, and intently listening for life’s call--- and then when it comes they are ripe to believe.
How rare is God’s call in our lives? Has the Spirit called us to Follow Him? Have we had our listening hearts opened? Because we may not have heard him does not mean that he has not called, we may have had our ears tuned out, maybe on mute.
We sons and daughters of Wesley believe that all are called to some Christian lifestyle and ministry and that following Jesus always begins as we respond to his call--- “that still small voice”. But the Spirit never screams, he will not knock the door of our hearts down, but he will knock on every heart, it’s guaranteed! Jesus wants us for himself and he will extend open arms to all who say yes.
What can happen when we say Yes, and begin to follow Jesus down the long road? Perhaps you have heard how the popular Bible commentator, William Barclay, turned his hearing aid off when he was concentrating in his Study. He was listening for the inspiration of the Spirit and he became a giant among the saints whose influence has extended into millions of lives. What do you suppose could happen with your days remaining if you started intently listening for his call? Just suppose...
Nathanael was amazed that Jesus could know things about him, and Jesus told him that he would know so much more. Jesus could look straight ahead and see Nathanael’s glory. “You will see greater things than these.” (v. 50). Jesus knew what great things this special young man would be able to accomplish for the Kingdom during his days of service in this life. And it all began with his listening, and looking.
George Washington Carver went out into the woods at 4:00 a.m. every morning and listened for God’s still small voice: He had a conversation with God and then went into his laboratory and changed the world.
After responding to God’s call one young man and his “preacher father” were so effected by that new calling that they changed their names to signify the importance of having heard and said yes to the Spirit’s clarion call: In a prayer covenant together they adopted the name of the Great Reformer and became, Martin Luther King, Sr., and Martin Luther King, Jr. Daddy King was not a “spring chicken” when he began his new calling hand in hand with his young son, and with his Lord.
It is never too late and we had better not wait. If the Spirit is calling us and we have been putting him off, the day will come when there is no more time, only lost opportunity and regrets. Guilt is not the bugaboo of old age, but regrets are.
I can also hear young folks saying, “I am going to wait until I am old, after I have sown my wild oats, and then when there is not much left, and I am too old to cut the mustard, then I’ll say yes.” Some years ago a homeless man was begging at our church door. Our Maintenance Engineer was standing with me when the old worn out dirty young man dragged himself away, and Billy said, “Preacher have you heard the expression, ‘tail end of a misspent life?’--- well there it goes”. And there any of us can go if we do not give Him all we have: Give Him our heart!
Come and See! Come and Experience! Come and Become the fulfillment of what He has in store for you from this moment on!
a sermon synopsis by C.
Robert Allred, Th.D., Pastor