Categories: Rector's Corner

Your “This”

Sari Ateek
Sari Ateek, Rector

This past Sunday, my imagination was captured by Todd’s sermon on Jesus calling the Disciples to follow him. In the story from Mark’s Gospel, Jesus walks up to two fishermen, Peter and Andrew, and says to them “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Todd drew our attention to the fact that Jesus wanted to take what these guys were already good at, and channel their gifts for the Kingdom of God. In other words, the specific invitation to become “fishers of people” was directly linked to the fact that Peter and Andrew were already in the business of fishing. The point is this: Jesus does not ask us to become something that we are not, but rather invites us to become all that we were meant to be by using our gifts for a higher purpose.

As I listened to Todd’s words, I began to think of my own gifts and talents, imagining what words Jesus would use to call me to follow him…and then I remembered something! Twenty years ago, I was sitting behind a piano in the chapel at Birmingham-Southern College, crafting my own music as an aspiring singer/songwriter. Then, in a moment of frustration with the creative process, I decided to stop working on my own music for a second, and instead, I began singing one of the worship songs that I had learned from one of our campus ministry gatherings. As I became increasingly immersed in the music and lost in the words of that song, something happened; I heard the voice of God. It came in the form of a deep, unambiguous knowing within me. The words I specifically heard were: “I want you to do THIS to lead my people in worship.” Though at first I thought that the “THIS” meant my music, I would later discover that what God wanted to use was my passion to reach people’s hearts and inspire them through creative expression – whether that was a melody, or words…or both.

It wasn’t until this past Sunday that I made the connection between the language Jesus uses in the Gospel to call Peter and Andrew, and the words I heard that day 20 years ago. It makes me wonder what language Jesus would use for you? What is your gift? What do you love to do, or are really good at doing? What is your “THIS” that God wants to use for the Kingdom?

May we come to believe that God deeply desires for us to use our gifts for a higher purpose – to benefit the greater good by changing something in this world for the better; and, like Peter and Andrew, may our response be a resounding “Yes!”

Grace and peace,


Sari Ateek
Sari Ateek

The Rev. Sari Ateek is the rector of St. John's. One of the many gifts Sari brings to the church is his conversational preaching style.