SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER:
Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God,and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."
As He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men." Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.
Going on a little farther, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who were also in the boat mending the nets. Immediately He called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went away to follow Him.
BIG T's THOUGHT TO PONDER:
On March 13, 2008 I received an invitation that changed my life forever. That invitation came in the form of a physical visit from God, offering me life, a life I could not even begin to imagine. God wasn't exactly on my radar screen back then but I knew at that moment that I needed to follow Him and I called out His Name, Jesus Christ! And he rescued me!
In today’s "Scripture To Consider" Mark tells us that several fishermen received an invitation that changed their lives forever. That invitation came in the form of a call, from a rabbi, a teacher named Jesus, who was just starting out his ministry proclaiming the good news that the kingdom of God was near. Jesus was just walking beside the Sea of Galilee. He found four men fishing in the lake and said to them: “Come, follow me.”
As I looked at this verse I though, what a strange thing for a rabbi to do. I don't think that rabbis went around visiting places of business to invite potential disciples to come follow them, just like I don't think the pastors of today go out door-to-door making house calls. If anything it is the eager new Christians who would probably approach an elder or a pastor from their church for the privilege of discipleship and/or studying under their teachings.
But that’s exactly what Jesus did when he issued his invitation to Simon and Andrew, and James and John. In Mark’s Gospel, there was no indication whatsoever that these fishermen had anything special about them that would have caught Jesus’ attention. Those four were just minding their own business when Jesus took the initiative to seek them out and to issue this invitation: “Come, follow me.”
What a strange thing for a rabbi to do. But at first glance, even more strange, even more amazing in my mind, was the fact that when Simon and Andrew heard Jesus’ invitation, verse eighteen says, “at once they left their nets and followed him.” There seemed to be no hesitation on their part. They simply let go of their nets, which were their means of livelihood and symbols of their lifestyle and identity, and followed Jesus. What Simon and Andrew did has always puzzled and intrigued me. No one in his right mind would just let go of everything to follow a teacher, just because he said, “Come, follow me.” Right?
Apparently, Jesus was no ordinary teacher. In the very beginning of his Gospel, Mark had already identified Jesus as the Son of God. While there was nothing special about those fishermen whom Jesus called, there was definitely something very special about Jesus.
For those of you who God has entrusted to operate a business for His glory such as myself, imagine Bill Gates visiting your office with the invitation: “Come, follow me.”
For those who play basketball, imagine Micheal Jordon entering your gym with the invitation, “Come, follow me.”
For you aspiring Hollywood stars, imagine if Tom Cruse or Jennifer Aniston came knocking at your door and said, “Come, follow me.” Imagine the top person from your field or profession coming to you inviting you to come and follow, and I imagine some of you might be tempted to let go of everything and accept this one-in-a-lifetime offer.
Even so, it is hard to imagine how Simon and Andrew could immediately let go of their nets, their only means of livelihood as fishermen, in order to follow Jesus. But that’s not all. In the next verses, Jesus issued the same invitation to James and John, and they not only let go of their nets, but they also left their father Zebedee, left their boat and their hired men to follow Jesus. James and John let go of family ties, let go of possessions and let go of a life of being served in order to answer Jesus’ call.
It’s hard for us to imagine letting go of so many things in order to follow Jesus. We are a people who have been told again and again to “grab all you can” and “you can have it all.” We often don’t know what it’s like to let go and give up some things in order to pursue the best path God has for our lives. Maybe that’s why we overextend ourselves in our work, we overextend our credit limits to accumulate more than we need, and we overextend our schedules and our commitments. Sometimes, it is possible to allow our lifestyles, our possessions, and yes, even our families to become our idols. As Christians, our work, our accumulations, our schedules and our families are not bad things in and of themselves, but when we cannot let them go and when they begin to occupy a higher place than following Jesus, then we may be missing out on a life of discipleship that Christ calls us to live.
I don’t know about you, but in my life, I find that when I’m afraid to let go, many times it is because I fear what will happen when I’m no longer in control of my life. Those who know me know that I’m a planner obsessed with the details. I’m compulsive about details and I always want to prepare for the contingencies, leaving nothing for chance and always with a plan B.
But when Jesus called to invite me to follow him, He was basically asking me to hand over the reigns and full control of my life to Him. The question was, “Was I willing to let go of control and let God be the Lord of my life"
When Jesus invited the four fishermen to “Come, follow me,” Jesus didn’t map out a three-year plan with full benefits and retirement. He did not give many details and the unknowns we endless. Jesus’ invitation was simply a call to journey with Him, to commune with Him daily, to literally follow Him wherever He went-twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week-living the way the He lived, observing and learning from the minute details of the His life, and training to do what He did.
To follow Jesus means the transformation of our lifestyle so that it conforms to the way that Jesus lived His life. Jesus’ invitation is first and foremost a call not to a plan but to himself: “Follow me.“ Jesus’ invitation is secondly a call to a continuous journey with Him rather than a single act toward Him: “Follow me.”
Who among us does not want to live a life of significance? Who among us does not want to live a life of influence that points others to God? Who among us does not want to live a life that will make a lasting, positive impact that carries on long after we’re gone? The truth of the matter is, God has bigger plans for us for the sake of His Kingdom than we could ever dream about. But in order for God’s plans to come into fruition, we must be willing to let go of the nets in our lives and let God have control over our lives. If Simon, Andrew, James and John had not let go of their nets, their fathers, their boats and their servants, and if they had not let God direct their lives, then chances are, I would not be writing this devotion this morning.
The world’s a better place because throughout history, there have been ordinary people who were able to let go and let God. Theologian Leonard Sweet said it well: "The world’s a better place because:"
- "Noah didn’t say, “I don’t do arks and animals.”
- "David didn’t say, “I don’t do giants.”
- "Daniel didn’t say, “I don’t do lion’s dens.”
- "Mary didn’t say, “I don’t do virgin births.”
- "Paul didn’t say, “I don’t do letters.”
- "Jesus didn’t say, “I don’t do crosses.”
This list reads like a Hall of Fame of the heroes of faith. We might think: “There’s no way that I can attain that level.” But Jesus is not calling you to be the next Moses or David or Mary. Jesus only calls you to be the very best you can be. And the Good News is that Jesus never calls us to a place where He hasn’t been before. Jesus knows what it was like to let go of the status, prestige, and power that was rightly in His possession!
This morning, we are invited to let go and let God. But that’s not all. For if we were to do just those two things, we might be tempted to sit back passively, letting go of everything and letting God do everything. There is one final thing. In response to Jesus’ invitation, Simon and Andrew, James and John, not only let go and let God, but at the end of this passage, Mark tells us that they basically said, “Let’s Go Do This!” and they followed Jesus on a journey of faith.
GOD's TRUTH - PROMISES - INSTRUCTION:
"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord"
"A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps."
"But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil." Proverbs 1:33
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."
"Thus says the Lord, Your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you by the way you should go."
"I will instruct you and teach you in the way should go; I will guide you with My eye."
"For this is God, our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to death."
"The Lord will guide you continually …”
Help Us To Let Go Of Our Nets And Follow YOU!