Wednesday, December 30, 2009


“Who me?”

I was a teenager, sitting alone on the back deck of a tour boat, on the Wisconsin river. It was long before young people earned extra funds for college, selling pens, and memorabilia, taking tour groups around to see the Dells. A seasoned guide both piloted the boat, and spoke of scenes along the beautiful river, which had left its mark on the sandstone of the area.

Using both his past knowledge, love of people, and imagination, he also told fascinating stories of different cultures. I found myself dreaming of piloting such a boat one day.

All of a sudden, I heard someone say, “Hey, you! You in the pink shirt! Come here and guide this boat, while I explain some things about this area of the Dells!”

I was shocked that someone might know what I was thinking, and said, “Who, me?” “Yes, you!”

I soon found myself keeping the boat, filled with approximately 150 tourists, between the banks of the Wisconsin River.

Nathanael also found himself in such a situation. We have the record of when Jesus started calling his disciples in John 1. When Jesus decided to go to Galilee, he found Philip and told him, “Follow me.” Philip, from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter, then found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael asked Philip, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip told him to “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael was surprised and said, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Why should it surprise us that God both knows about us, and loves to acknowledge our love for Him? Jacob is awakened by shock, after successfully negotiating the “birth-right” of the family, when he sees a vision of angels on a ladder. Religious leaders are shocked that Jesus could accurately pinpoint their thoughts, as they plan to trap him, when he is actually trying to love them.

As a young person, I got a lot of joy out of pleasing my parents, (when I actually did!) Why not our Heavenly Father? Have we allowed the present world system to bring us a flawed sense of accomplishment and/or condemnation, that does not do justice to a loving Heavenly Father, one that would give His own Son for our salvation? Thus we tend to align ourselves with a world system that is harder and harder to keep up with?

Perhaps we would also be surprised if we knew how much actions of integrity were actually observed, acknowledged, and rewarded.