Jesus Calls Men “And” Women To Follow Him -- By: Evelyn Bence

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 06:3 (Summer 1992)
Article: Jesus Calls Men “And” Women To Follow Him
Author: Evelyn Bence


Jesus Calls Men “And” Women To Follow Him

Evelyn Bence

I walk into the small suburban house, not quite knowing what the next hour will hold. My church-sponsored home group is going to be led through a guided meditation.

I’ve been told the group leader will “walk” us through a familiar story line, Jesus calling the twelve, and each of us will visualize herself as one of the disciples. By envisioning ourselves in the middle of this Gospel scene, we’ll give the Holy Spirit an opportunity to address us personally.

Though I intend to observe more than participate, I follow each of the leader’s instructions. From head to foot I relax tensed muscles. I breathe deeply to the count of ten. For 30 seconds I silently and slowly repeat “You are the light of the world” inhaling on the first four syllables, exhaling on the last three.

Finally, I’m centered in and our leader sets the stage: “You are in a boat, fishing. A man is walking on the beach. First He stops and talks to one person, who follows Him.”

The director pauses after each sentence, giving us time to fill in our own details. My mind is thoroughly occupied with details of the setting, particularly of clothing. Am I wearing jeans or first-century robes? And what about Jesus’ clothes?

Jeans all around, I decide. If Jesus is talking to me, then Jesus is a 1986 beach-walker and I am a 1986 fish-catcher.

Andrew, then Peter, in my mind, leave their work and follow the stranger. Then He approaches me, staring at the fishing nets that need to be hauled in.

I look at Him. He has stopped and is giving me His undivided attention. But before He says a word I — reserved though I am — hurl at him a barrage of words. They seem to rise from the back of my mind’s uninventoried storage bins.

Formerly the managing editor of “Today’s Christian Woman,” Evelyn Bence is a free-lance writer and editor whose latest book is Mary’s Journal (Zondervan 1992). Her article first appeared in “Good News,” May/June 1986, and is reprinted by permission.

“Wait a minute!” I protest. “I’m not strong enough to pull in these nets. And besides, you’ve got it all wrong. You’re supposed to call the men, and we women are supposed to follow.”

He doesn’t say a word at first, but stares at me more intensely than before, as if His eyes are beaming a silent message: “listen to yourself. Do you know what you’re saying?”

Somewhat embarrassed by my outburst, I play back what I have just heard myself say. And I cringe. I’m an independent, professional, whole woman. I d...

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