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"At once" by Ellen Mongan (CatholicMom.com) See page for author [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons[/caption]“Come on down! You are the next contestant on the Price Is Right!” you could hear Bob Barker say on the old game show with the same name. When the announcer called the name, the viewer would see a person in the audience bolt out of their seat and race towards the stage, faster than a an Olympian trying for the gold. It did not matter if the contestant was a young pregnant mother or old grandpa -- they found a skip in their step as they proudly took their place on contestants row. You can be assured that they were sporting winning smiles on their faces. I never saw any contestant decline the offer to “Come on down!” I guess it was because the “price was right.” As I was reading the book of Matthew 4:18-19, I was struck by a different kind of calling:

“As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

What did the two brothers do when they heard the Lord call them? At once they left their nets and followed Him. From that day forward, they became His disciples. In Matthew 14:22-33 Jesus calls Peter a second time. All the disciples were in the boat and the waves were getting rough. They spied in the distance a figure on the water coming toward them. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear. But at once Jesus called out to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid!” It was Peter who questioned, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water. He said, “Come.” I questioned, “Why did the disciples not recognize Him?” After all they had walked with Him and talked with him. He had called them by name and then taught them. Jesus knew Peter’s heart better than Peter did! Surprisingly, Peter was the only disciple to get out of the boat and walk towards Jesus. It was no small feat. He was walking in a miracle. Why was that, I thought? Why didn’t the other disciples answer the call? Peter was not smarter, stronger or more gifted, yet he responded at once when called to come. It was because he had the courage to get out of the boat that Peter walked on the water. Unfortunately, Peter began to sink when he took his eyes off Jesus. I questioned in my soul, "Why did He take his eyes off Jesus?" What was he thinking? Later in John 21:15-19 Jesus calls Peter to continue fishing and then come ashore. Once ashore Jesus not only gives Peter an opportunity to repent but also forgives Him, accepts Him and assigns Him a new calling as Pope ending with, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” [Jesus] said to him, “Feed my sheep.” Peter answered the call! Have you ever contemplated those verses? They give us such a keen insight into Peter’s character. Peter was the disciple of Jesus whose faults were “in your face.” It seems that Peter did not try to hide a thing. He often was described as speaking before he thought. He was kind of a “hindsight” guy. He sometimes gets a bad rap. To me it seems that, Peter was comfortable being Peter. Besides being bold and maybe a little foolish at times, he does have some redeeming qualities. At once he followed Jesus! At once he got out of the boat even though no one followed. Peter was a standup guy who listened and obeyed the voice of Jesus. Peter’s “at once” appears to please Jesus. How is your “at once?” I asked myself this question, “Would I get out of the boat if Jesus called to me, 'Come'? Would I walk on the water if Jesus said, 'It is I, come'? Would I keep my eyes on Jesus or would I sink? If you hear His voice calling you, try to answer His call “at once.” Follow Jesus and let Him teach you how to be His disciple. Let Him show you how to walk on the water. Be willing to go where He wants you to go and do whatever He wants you to do, to feed His sheep. There are many hungry sheep starving for the Bread of Life. Will you get out of the boat and walk on the water with your eyes on Him? Will you run to Him when He calls you by name? On the game show, “The Price is Right,” the contestants jump into action and run when they hear their name called. The words, “You are the next contestant on the 'The Price is Right,' send their hearts leaping with excitement towards the prize. Life is not a game and how we respond to Jesus has eternal consequences. Jesus paid a price for our salvation. It is a price we can never, ever pay back no matter how hard we try. The price is paid in full. It was paid with Jesus’ blood. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13) Who could put a price on that? Jesus gave His life for us; let us all live our life for Him in thanksgiving. Answer his call each day, “at once!” Run the race towards Jesus with your ears attuned to hear His voice, and your eyes on Him. What is He calling you to do? Keep your eyes on the prize, Eternal Life! “The Price Is Right, a free gift!” How much of your life will you bid for the prize?
Copyright 2018 Ellen Mongan