As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him – Mark 1, verses 16-20.
I don’t mind confessing: I sometimes earnestly wish I could pick myself and leave. The other day I shared a story about moving to Tennessee; that’s a manifestation of this wish. My desire to keep my traveling job (that keeps me on the road about 30 weeks a year) is another. How I crave time alone; same thing. Sometimes I just wish I could drop everything I know and simply go: go to follow the Lord in wherever He’s leading.
To me, the logical response to all this wishing is, “Dave, what’s holding you back?”
Maybe God IS advocating that some people leave their responsibilities behind and simply follow Him; that could be. A lot of hippies did this in the 60s, but it didn’t work out so well for them or their families. A lot of Detroit has done this in just the last few years. I read just yesterday that there are over 90,000 abandoned houses in Detroit because people simply walked away; how many of those people walked to follow Jesus? We may never know.
Yet for each of us, here and now, God is still calling. Perhaps the most usable lesson to draw in this is that we should be ready to abandon everything and follow the voice of Jesus instead of the voices around us. For some that may indeed mean picking up and moving out. For some it may indeed mean leaving everything on a moment’s notice. In fact, if you think about it, THAT is the meaning for ALL of us.
Don’t believe me? Then riddle me this, Batman Reader: how many of your sins is God willing to tolerate? How much of Jesus’ message, starting with the ones we’ve read here this week, have said “repent of only some of your sins and believe?” No, the hard truth – and the saving grace – is that Jesus called His best friends to their highest calling: to proclaim to the world the good news of Jesus’ salvation.
Yet that salvation demands a price, and that price is to give up everything. Freely give up ALL your sins, all your worries, all your junk, all your wrongs, all the ways you’ve failed. Give ALL those up to Jesus NOW, then follow Him. Follow Him, sometimes minute by minute, in letting Him wipe clean the guilt in your heart and the doubt in your mind. Follow Him on the next logical steps when He gives you the strength to leave things that hurt you and others behind and change how you live. Follow Him in where He then leads you to use your life story to help others.
THAT is what Jesus called Simon, Andrew, James, and John to do. That’s what He’s calling us to do as well. Now.
Lord, I turn from my past to follow only You.
Read Matthew 4, verses 18-22, and Luke 5, verses 1-11.