And Jesus said unto them, ”Come yea after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men”. And straightway they forsook their nets, and follow him.
Almost everyone is familiar with the call of Peter and Andrew by Jesus to become two of the twelve disciples. It appears that they dropped what they were doing and immediately followed Jesus. This should cause us to recognize the fine character trait of availability, as there seemed to be no hesitance in joining Jesus.
What we need to recognize is what they were doing before Jesus called them. Too often we view being available for the Lord’s use as sitting and waiting. You know your car is available because it is sitting in the garage, waiting to take you to church or to the store. It is available for your immediate use. However, this is not the availability that we see in the disciples.
They were doing work and tasks that had nothing to do with the ministry that God was about to call them to. They were just doing their own thing, fishing or collecting taxes, or any number of different tasks. What made them available was their willingness to immediately drop “their own thing” and do God’s thing.
Saul of Tarsus was on his way to Damascus to further his ambition to be a leader in the Jewish religion. We’re all familiar with the story of his conversion and how he began to preach the same gospel that he had once persecuted. Saul was available to be used of God, and his work for the Lord began in God’s timing.
Availability is more of an attitude than an action. It is an attitude that manifests itself when we have our priorities right. It is an attitude that I will not hold anything tighter than I hold my commitment to the Lord.
If you think about the many different authors that contributed to the writing of the Bible, especially some of the minor prophets, who lived a whole lifetime just for a book of two or three paragraphs. Yet, who would not have accepted the honor of being used of the Holy Spirit to write the scriptures? They were written by men, most of whom were not priests or religious persons, just individuals committed to God and living their lives with availability.
The best way to be available when God calls is to practice availability when someone in your family calls. God doesn’t always wait until it is convenient, and neither does your spouse, children or in-laws. Can you drop “your thing” and be available to them in the moment of need? If not, God may very well get the same reaction from you when He needs you!
Let’s work on our attitude to always be available. Who knows what God may have planned right around the corner.
Here are five “I will” principles to practice in order to incorporate the character trait of availability into your life (write these on a poster, board or overhead transparency).
1. I will put others ahead of myself.
2. I will find a way to help, not a way to hide.
3. I will be ready when I’m called.
4. I will be glad for the chance to serve.
5. I will check with the right person before I make commitments.
Closing #1: Let’s dialog about it with one another.
Closing #2: Let’s close in silent prayer, ask God:
Availability – A Five-Minute Study
Faith Committee, Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky
Contributed by Craig E. Beckley
Bible Teacher, Moores Hill, Indiana
July 14, 2003
This material is published by the Faith Committee of the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Reproduction and Adaptation is encouraged.