Thursday, December 6, 2012
Leaving Your Nets
Matthew 4:20 "AT ONCE they left their nets and followed Him (Jesus)."
Matthew 4:20 records the response of Peter and Andrew to the call of Jesus to be his disciples. They literally walked off the job and into ministry. We have the advantage of viewing this story with hindsight and the scripture, but Peter and Andrew were in the moment...
Jesus was a hometown boy, a carpenter. He hadn't really started his ministry, yet. Surely he had been preaching in the area and the disciples knew what kind of man he was. But still...
Fishing was a major industry around the Sea of Galilee and most fisherman belonged to family owned business. Can you imagine old Zebedee's face when somebody walked in his "office" and told him Peter and Andrew had taken off with the new preacher? How do you go home and tell your wife that you walked off the job for a ministry with no pay? How do you feed your kids? Their security was gone. Their income was gone. Possibly a few relationships went south. These weren't just a couple of guys with no other responsibilities. These were grown men with families to think about. And yet....they left their nets to follow Him.
We have a sweet couple from our church who are sold out to Jesus...literally. They sold everything they had and moved to Papua New Guinea to work with Wycliffe Bible Translators. They left their nets and went to the jungle. Before they left, they gave a presentation during our House of Prayer Service. Afterward, I hugged Cheryl and said, "Sometimes, I think I'd like to sell everything and go somewhere." (Don't ever say things like that out loud). The next time I saw her at church she said, "They need nurses." Alrighty then....
I recounted the conversation to my husband and he said, "Would you really go that far from your grandkids for that long?" Well, would I? (Place pregnant pause here) .... I'm working on it.
Or maybe, I can follow and just bring my net with me. How about that? The trouble with nets is you tend to get tangled up in them. They drag you down. You fill them up with other things that distract you. And then before you know it you are back to following your own desires and missing the blessing of God.
Truthfully, today, I do not feel called to any place that would require me selling out materially. But I need to be so sold out spiritually that I would go AT ONCE, if He calls me.
In order to do that, I need first to focus on His promises. In Joshua 14, when the spies went into the promised land, all but two focused on the giants. Only Caleb and Joshua remembered what the others forgot - the land came with a promise. There may be giants in my way, but if I am obedient and stand on the promises of God, He will provide for me and my family.
I also have to have faith that overcomes my fear. Again, in Joshua 14, it says that when the others saw the giants their hearts "melted with fear". I don't recall anywhere that it says Joshua and Caleb were NOT afraid, but they were willing to trust God in spite of their fears. I may be afraid if God calls me out, but as long I as trust Him to take care of me, I will have His blessing.
I imagine Peter and Andrew had some fear, but they stepped out on faith, focused on the promised Messiah and were blessed beyond measure.
Could I leave my grandchildren? My children? The comforts of home? The internet? Job security? It wouldn't be easy. I would be afraid. But "I can do all things through Him who gives me strength" (Phil 4:13)
Will I go if He calls me?
Yes, I'm pretty sure I will.