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A Voice and a Call

a voice...a call

by Neil Gililland



Find out more about the ministry of Free Will International Missions at



The moist morning air warmed their weathered skin—skin as dark as the earth from days at sea. Work-worn hands tied age-old knots. The salty smell of fish hung in the air. Gulls chattered in the background, hovering and waiting for a breakfast of discarded scraps.

Two brothers sat on the deck of their boat as it bobbed to the rhythm of the waves. Soon they would need to work on the boat. But this morning attention had to be given to the nets. Their morning discussion was woven into the familiar tapestry of the daily life of fishermen. It was a morning not unlike any other morning until, through the soft mist drifted a voice, a simple call… “Follow Me.”

“And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him” (Matt. 4:22).

They joined two other fisherman and several rather ordinary people who responded to the same voice and the same call to simply follow Him. Their response changed the world. That same voice has echoed through the mist of history, and countless people have dropped their nets and followed Him.


A Voice and a Call


For the past several issues of ONE Magazine, articles (Where Are They Now?) about some of our veteran missionaries who have retired from overseas service have appeared. A common thread runs through all their stories—a common thread, a common voice. The same voice James and John heard. The same voice Laura Belle Barnard heard. The same voice Carlisle and Marie Hanna heard.

They all sat on the deck of their boats mending nets, heard the voice, and abandoned self to His call.

When the disciples left their ship and said goodbye to their dad, it wasn’t simply a call to abandon things and people. It was a matter of the will. Oswald Chambers remarked:

Have you ever had a crisis in which you deliberately and emphatically and recklessly abandoned everything? It is a crisis of will. You may come up to it many times externally, but it amounts to nothing. The real deep crisis of abandonment is reached internally, not externally. The giving up of external things may be an indication of being in total bondage.

Have you deliberately committed your will to Jesus Christ?

The disciples’ crisis of the will came, and they responded. Our missionaries’ crisis of the will came, and they responded. The same voice still echoes as it has throughout history. The question is, how will you respond? Will you be abandoned to the call?

About the Writer: Neil Gilliland is director of member care for the International Missions Department. Learn more about Free Will Baptist International Missions at





©2008 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists