This past Sunday, August 31st, was Youth Sunday. The youth put on a skit
for the Message that was a reading of the book, “THE VOICE” by R.W. Metlen.
“Follow me,” said the Voice. He was fishing when he heard the Voice.
He was satisfied with his life, and the time of the call was inconvenient.
He wanted it to go away but the Voice would not. Instead, it offered the invitation again, this time with an added complication. What could he do? Try as he might, he could not ignore the Voice, but neither could he leave his place of security.
Until, suddenly, that, too, was changed.
This is a fable about an invitation encountered during a life given to other pleasures. It is a story to reflect on, to laugh with and to wonder over. The simple text, combined with funny, evocative drawings, is written for people of all ages, faiths and backgrounds. Whoever has heard such a voice, or longs to hear one, will identify with the story and be moved by its possibilities.
I first read this book to campers at Montlure Presbyterian Church Camp in Greer during a session in which “discipleship” was the theme of the curriculum for the summer. The campers loved the book and asked me to read it over again for a “bedtime” story. I think it depicts Jesus’ calling of the disciples and the account in Matthew in which Jesus walks on water, challenging them not to be afraid. Only Peter is willing to climb out of the boat and go to Jesus, walking on the water…until doubt (weak faith) creeps in and he begins to sink. (Matthew 14:22-32).
Find a comfortable chair to sit in and read the text of “The Voice.”
“Follow me,” said the Voice. (A puzzled fisherman has his line in the water.)
“Follow me, said the Voice. I did not want to listen. (Fisherman is peeking over the side of the boat.)
“I love you,” said the Voice. (Surprised, puzzled look on the fisherman’s face.)
The Voice, whoever it was, was very intrusive.
“Go away. I’m fishing.”
I could feel it watching me.
Eventually, I caught a fish. I was feeling very proud of myself.
“You’re welcome,” said the Voice. “Leave me alone,” I replied.
The Voice was silent, but it didn’t go away. I lay back to take a nap.
Then, quite unexpectedly, my boat sprung a leak.
I found the hole and plugged it with one of my toes. (Fish is nibbling on his toe.)
That Voice was putting holes in my boat! (Evil thoughts depicted by a skull and crossed bones.)
I yelled, “VOICE, I DO NOT APPRECIATE YOU!” (Yelling, panting.)
“Stop behaving so badly,” said the Voice, “and just follow me.”
(After being a target of jeering) The Voice let out a long sigh.
My boat began to leak again.
At first, I refused to plug the hole. I thought, “I’ ll show that Voice how tough I am. I’ll just go ahead and drown.” (Humph.)
Then I got scared. I didn’t really want to drown.
It took my whole leg to plug that hole. I could feel the fish tickling my foot in the water below.
“Stupid fish,” I thought.
Everybody was picking on me. (Sigh.)
I wanted to go home, but I couldn’t reach my oars.
I WAS STUCK!
I began to cry. (Wah-h, sob.)
“Follow me,” said the Voice.
“Why won’t you leave me alone?” I asked. I was feeling sorry for myself.
“I already told you. I love you,” said the Voice. “Follow me.”
“I CAN’T! If I move, my boat will sink!” (Whine.)
“Let it sink,” said the Voice. (Puzzled look.)
“LET IT SINK?” I asked. “Don’t you care about me? I’ll drown! I’ll become fish food! I can’t swim!”
“You won’t have to swim. Just follow me,” said the Voice.
I sat there, wondering what to do. This seemed like an awfully dirty trick. How did I know I could trust the Voice?
There seemed to be no other option.
So I pulled my toe out of the first hole. Immediately water began filling the boat. “Better pull your other leg out too,” recommended the Voice, “or the boat will drag you down with it.”
So I did.
The cold water rushed in as the boat sank.
I called out, “Help! Voice! Help me!”
“Open your eyes,” said the Voice.
(Man is walking on the water–gasp!)
“Follow me,” said the Voice.
(Man is seen tip-toeing across the waves on the water.)
So I did.
As you can imagine, the kids acting out the skit with their version of the boat, plus the bouncing paper waves, got the point across.
We are blessed to have faithful disciples in our young people!