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  • JANUARY 23-24 AND JANUARY 30-31

When Saying Yes Requires Saying No

3rd Sunday after Epiphany - January 24, 2021

It was one of those thought-for-the-day-calendars you find in your Christmas stocking. The sayings mostly were trite and pithy, but every so often there was a truth worth repeating, for example: “Decide what you want and what you are willing to exchange for it. Set your priorities and go to work.” In other words, if we’re serious, saying yes to one thing often requires saying no to something else.

Jonah—after fleeing from the mission to which God was calling him (and three days and nights in the belly of the fish!)—now says “No!” to his former urges and “Yes!” to God as he sets out as God’s prophet to Nineveh. Paul invites us to say “No!” to trivial matters and “Yes!” to the things of God that have serious and eternal consequences. Jesus calls the disciples to say “No!” to their boats and nets and families and much of everything else they have known and to say “Yes!” to his “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.”

We feel a kinship with Jonah’s situation, because he struggles. He runs away from God and only relents after a huge fish vomits him onto a distant shore. The call-response stories of Simon, Andrew, James, and John make it all seem so easy. One little word of invitation from Jesus and these men turn in an instant from fishers to disciples.

But most of us live somewhere in the middle, not resisting God’s call with the vigor of Jonah but certainly responding more slowly and ambiguously than the disciples. So a question for today is: To what is God calling us to say “No!”? Remember, it’s not just the ugly stuff but often good things that must be denied for the sake of following Jesus. And then we must also ask in faith: To what is Jesus inviting us to say “Yes!”?

©2021 Sundays and Seasons

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Messiah Lutheran Church
2691 NE Pine Island Rd
Cape Coral, Florida 33909
Phone 239.995.0133
Fax 239.995.2720
Mobile 941.548.6163

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