“Come, follow me.”

Mark 1:17

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Mark 1:14-20

“Come, follow me,” Jesus says to Simon and Andrew. It’s an invitation. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus invites people – think of Nicodemus, Zacchaeus and the rich young man. The invitation can be accepted or not. Simon and Andrew accepted it; the rich young man could not. In each case, Jesus’ invitation is to go beyond where they are now: beyond natural reaction, beyond instinct, beyond giving back in kind, beyond comfortable religious positions, beyond legal rights and beyond the need to be right.

This scene, next to the Lake of Galilee, holds valuable lessons for us. Through Jesus, God invites us to a more abundant life – one that is only within our grasp if we are willing to accept the invitation he extends wholeheartedly. Notice that God’s invitations are never coercive. God’s invitation is non-threatening. God’s invitation leaves us free, free to say yes or no.

Notice too that Jesus’ invitation to the fisherman is one of many. Over and over again, as they journey with him, he will invite them to more. He invites them, like us, into a deeper relationship with him and, by implication, those around us.

But the invitation is also one to deeper maturity. It is one that invites us to outgrow our instinctual selfishness so that our outlook changes. This means that our motivation and actions are shaped by the needs of others and not just our own needs and wants. The ultimate indicator of maturity is when our motivations and actions are altruistic rather than selfish. Simon and Andrew – like so many in the Scriptures – learn this the longer they live with Jesus. He shows them what maturity looks like when he willingly (despite their resistance!) gives his life on the cross.

Pause today to ponder where God may be inviting you to “Come, follow me” – to more abundant life, to greater maturity – in this season of your life? Are you willing to accept the invitation? Why or why not?

Lord God,

Your invitation to “Come, follow me” is extended to every person. You invite us to imitate you by giving of ourselves for others. When we give, we mature, when we mature, we realise abundant life. Help us today to know your invitation and respond as best we can.

Amen.

 
Fr Russell Pollitt SJ

Fr Russell Pollitt SJ is the Director of the Jesuit Institute and is interested in the impact that communications technology has on society and spirituality. He regularly comments on South African Politics and various issues in the Catholic Church.

director@jesuitinstitute.org.za @rpollittsj
See more from Russell Pollitt SJ
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