As [Jesus] passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Then they abandoned their nets and followed him. He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending their nets. Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him (Mark 1:16-20).
Simon, Andrew, James, and John were not waiting around for Jesus. These Apostles were busy when He called to them. But that didn't stop them. They dropped what they were doing and followed Jesus. They left everything and everyone behind.
Gone were the days of simple fishing. Jesus had another plan for them. They would no longer be helping fish get from the sea to the boat. Now their job was to help souls rise from earth to heaven. Their nets, their voices, would reach out across the earth to invite each and every person to establish a relationship with Christ.
Jesus is loving. The Apostles knew that and wanted to be with Him. After all, with Jesus we can inherit the Kingdom of God. We can become fishers of men, lights of the world, temples of the Holy Spirit. That sounds pretty nice, huh?
Jesus is demanding. The Apostles knew that and still wanted to be with Him. God is both loving AND demanding. We must meet Him half way. We must disregard earthly matters and turn our attention fully to Heaven. God deserves nothing less.
Following Christ is rewarding without a doubt, but it's not easy. We must leave behind the nets we cast. We must take nothing on our journey (Luke 9:3). God expects us to give ourselves wholly and completely to Him. No regrets. He knows we may mess up, but He will never give up on us. He is dedicated to us, and we, too, must be dedicated to Him. Half-hearted love won't cut it. Jesus loved us with a lot more than half His heart as He carried the Cross. He gave all so that we could have eternal life. He loves each and every one of us personally with a love so great that it cannot be expressed in words. Shouldn't we try to return this love?
Come after me. Just as He called the Apostles, God calls us all to follow Him. As I mentioned in a previous post, hearing His call and answering it...well, that part is up to us. If we choose God, IT WILL BE DIFFICULT. We may have to leave behind the nets we were casting and trust in God as He transforms us into new people. But I can't stress enough how amazing it will be to become this new person focused on living a Christ-like life. We are no longer caught in our nets, slaves to earthly desires. Our nets are cast aside and we can finally raise our heads skyward and live a life in preparation for heaven.
By choosing to establish a relationship with Christ, we are able to hear His voice always in our lives. We can feel His presence and His overpowering love. Our lives can become joyful and fulfilling and purposeful, all with one word: yes.
When God called his disciples, they made a conscious choice to say yes, to follow Him. Jesus did not force them into forming a relationship with Him. Peter was even warned by Jesus himself of the fate he would face as a result of his faith.
“I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.” Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me" (John 21:18-19).
Follow me. Peter (Simon) gave up not only his nets but life for Jesus. He was not discouraged by the difficult path ahead of him because he knew where the path would end. Once he breathed his last, he knew that the trouble, the earthly pain, would all disappear. He would see God face to face. He would enter the Kingdom of God and be entrusted with its keys. All of this was within reach for Peter the minute he chose to follow Jesus.
We, too, can have this opportunity for eternal life. It won't be easy to get there, but it will be worth it. So what are you waiting for? Abandon your nets. Abandon your fears, your insecurities, your chains. Your answer is all it takes to start the relationship. Answer His call and feel His presence in your life always. Answer His call and become fishers of men.
|Chiclana de la Frontera, Spain|
The Struggle by Tenth Avenue North