If you are anything like me there are many times in life when you don't feel worthy. Several years ago I wasn't feeling particularly worthy and it was certainly a stressful time. My father-in-law had just passed away. My mother-in-law, husband and brother-in-law had to make the difficult decision to remove him from life support. I had just started a new job a few months earlier and I was understandably nervous about asking off, especially since I was a teacher. My mom had talked to my husband earlier in the day and she called to tell me that it was important to go there right after school that things didn't sound good.
As soon as I got off work I headed to the hospital and met our family in the waiting room. It was a crowded area and there was only one seat left. Wouldn't you know it...it was beside the preacher that I hadn't met yet. I'm not a very social person when it comes to new people so with much anxiety I sat beside him. We talked for a moment and then it was time to go back to the ICU room. I was so scared. I had never been around someone as they took their last breath. As we walked back, my knees feeling like jello I silently prayed and asked God to give me the courage and strength to be there for my husband and his family. It wasn't about me and my fear it was about being there for them.
I remember walking into that room and seeing my father-in-law's chest move up and down as if a robot had entered his body. It was time to say our final goodbyes. I walked up to him and said, "Gepetto...we love you. " His name was Geter but when my husband and I started dating he couldn't remember my name. Instead of calling me Kara he called me Karen, Carol, Carrie, etc. So in order to get him back I tried to come up with a name similar to his. Geter isn't exactly a name that has lots of choices and all I could come up with was Gepetto. From that moment forward he was Gepetto, and he still is. They turned off all the assistive devices and in less than one minute he faded into eternity.
Gepetto was a HUGE fan of bluegrass, gospel, anything that reminded him of his Appalachian roots. We looked at many songs and when I heard Fishers of Men by Rhonda Vincent I knew it was the one. It knocked me off my feet and when I feel unworthy this is the song I always listen to. It reenergizes my soul to do the work God has called me here to do. So many times we miss the call from God. It might be that still voice of the Holy Spirit or it might come through others. Lives can be changed and blessings flow when we hear that call and act on it.
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him. 21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. (Matthew 4:18-22)
Sometimes the call comes through another person. God uses all of us to do his work. The scripture from Matthew doesn't say "You will fish for people". It says I will send you out to fish for people. Jesus doesn't tell them to go their own way he says "follow me." Fishing was something these men knew how to do and Jesus was calling them to do something they didn't necessarily have skills for. In a similar scripture from Mark it says that they left their father in the boat with the hired men.
You know that preacher I told you about that I had to sit beside? He is now one of my dearest friends. He has moved on to other churches, but the lessons he taught me remain etched in my heart. I got to know him pretty well, he baptized my daughter and my husband. He accepted my transfer of membership into our church and helped me blossom as a servant in this world. The one that has touched me the most is one of those moments that I decided not to listen to the Holy Spirit. There was a new couple in church who had a daughter who appeared to be close in age to our daughter. I saw them from afar but I'm just not one to go up to random people so I was making my escape and Stuart caught me. I usually skip the 'shake the pastor's hand' line because it has always seemed a little odd to me. That day he caught my eye so I went up and gave him a hug and he took my hand to shake it and said, "Did you see that couple over there?" I responded that I had. He asked me if I had spoken to them. You know my answer. Then he told me that it looked like their daughter was Mary Emma's age. I told him I saw that. He gave me the evil eye so to speak and told me he thought it would be a good idea for me to go over to them and introduce myself. I gave him the "you must be kidding" look and as if I were a child asked him if I had to. He smiled and said "YES!"
My friends...if I had not introduced myself I cant' imagine the blessings I would have missed out on. You see this couple has become some of our closest friends. Our first children were born one month to the day apart. Our second children were born less than 24 hours apart. God prepares you for things before you even realize it. Michael's diagnosis, the unknown variables about his health, and dealing with a child that has special needs would help me be a more empathetic friend. I was being prepared for that day when my friend told me she was pregnant again. I quickly told her that I was sitting this one out! :-) It wasn't long after this that she also told me they were going thru extensive testing, but they were pretty sure this child had an extra chromosome resulting in Down's Syndrome. I will never know exactly how she and her husband felt, but I did understand the shock and fear. There were many decisions to be made. The point here isn't the Down's Syndrome, but that beautiful baby girl that was born months later. I have been in love with her since the moment I layed eyes on her. She stares at me like I'm the most interesting person on earth. Her smile is infectious and watching her triumph over obstacles in her path has been a blessing that I cannot put into words. You see...if not for the preacher making me go over and introduce myself we might not have became close friends with these people. My daughter wouldn't have a best friend in their daughter, we wouldn't have shared the joys and horrors of being pregnant together, and I wouldn't have this sweet angel to love on. I ignored the Holy Spirit's voice that day. Thank God for a friend who saw the opportunity and pushed me...I usually referred to these moments as 'throwing me under the bus.' He was pretty good at that!
Since this experience I have tried to listen more carefully and look around more to be a fisher of men. I am not worthy for this task alone and neither are you. He will make you worthy. He will make you a fisher of men. You will never be the same. Will you join me? Cast your nets aside. He will be our guide.