Very often when people talk about calling, they try to remove human autonomy from the equation. They imagine that our desires, our concerns, our passions and talents are irrelevant. But the fact that our loving Father has called us should not negate the freedom we have to make choices.
Finding our passions—answering the question “What do you want?”—is crucial to finding our callings. Rarely is that question easily answered. For most, determining what we trul…y want is a profound psychological process: a journey of discovery that takes time to travel and that can lead us in different directions at different points in our lives.
So it was for the disciples. They didn’t know what they wanted—only that they were searching for something. When Jesus asked them, “What do you want?” they didn’t know how to answer. Instead they sidestepped it with a question of their own: “Where are you staying?” (John 1:38)
The inference from the disciples’ question is clear: We don’t know the answer to your question. We’re not sure what we’re seeking. We don’t know where we’re going. But we do know that we want to spend time with you, to abide with you, to learn more about you. Because if you truly are who John says you are, then maybe you will be able to show us what we are truly seeking.
Jesus’ simple response to the disciples also acknowledged their unspoken questions. The words, “Come and see where I am staying,” meant, “Come and find out the plans that I have for you; the callings and the passions that I will give you.” And that is exactly what the disciples did. They entered the house seeking—but they left sought.
For Jesus sought them out and called them. They gave up their searches for truth and took up new callings and new identities, not because they had all the answers, but because they found the one who does. They found not a new religious project, not a new program, but a person. They became known to him, and that recognition changed their lives.