Jonathan – Thanks for your thought-provoking comment and the beautiful image of the shining pebble. I suppose the key thing, as you say, is whether we are attuned to be ready to hear when we are in a situation where God is calling us to do something special or different or particular, and if we can discern what it is that we are being called to. I guess in some circumstances that may be something dramatic and life-changing or even life-threatening, as with the example of the Syrian person you refer to. And then it must be extraordinarily difficult to decide between the claims of doing something brave and principled and standing up against oppression and the claims of protecting your loved ones from harm and danger. I find that one of the hardest teachings of Jesus that I find difficult to accept is the one about how following him can involve setting family members against each other and can bring division. I guess I just hope that I am never put in a position where that happens.
But in other circumstances I think the call may be less clear and the situation less extreme, and I suppose it may be less obvious that we are being called to make some decision or to follow some course.
I am interested in what Jesus’s approach was to those that followed him but who went back to their ordinary lives after their encounter with him. For example Zacchaeus the tax collector, who entertained Jesus to a meal and promised to change his ways. Did he manage to do so? Did he become one of the early Christians after Jesus’s death and resurrection or did he carry on being a faithful Jew?
I suppose that what I am thinking is that most of the time our lives are ordinary and routine and somewhat unremarkable and that we are not called to make life-changing or life-threatening decisions on a daily basis (thank goodness), but we still need to find the calling of God in the everyday and humdrum, and to respond as best we can….