When Jesus told Simon and Andrew He would make them fishers of men, I wonder what was going through their minds. I may not know what they were thinking, but I do know what they did. They dropped their nets and followed Him.
Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where he preached God’s Good News. “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”
One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him.
A little farther up the shore Jesus saw Zebedee’s sons, James and John, in a boat repairing their nets. He called them at once, and they also followed him, leaving their father, Zebedee, in the boat with the hired men. Mark 1:14-20 (NLT)
Simon, Andrew, James, and John were going about their normal work routines when Jesus asked them to trust Him. The fishermen followed without flinching. When I read these verses, I envy their faith. Unlike them, I want to know the plan and see the map before I drop my net and leave my boat.
Years ago, I came into work to find a banged up old fishing boat sitting inside the building. I taught middle school, so I was accustomed to seeing strange things in the hallway; but this was a first. The boat was a prop for my principal’s newest motto, “Get in the boat!” As his campaign unfolded, we did our best to hide insubordinate grins and pretend to be as serious as he was about his newest epiphany. I’m afraid we weren’t successful and neither were the students. The boat disappeared along with the principal’s buoyant mood.
I thought about that silly boat when I visited the middle school yesterday. I also thought about Christ asking those dedicated men to get out of their boats and follow Him. Change isn’t easy for middle schoolers, and it’s even more difficult for professional fishermen. My principal had good intentions when he put a boat in the hallway. He knew change was necessary for growth, and it took a lot of effort to get that boat through the front door. The middle schoolers didn’t get with his program because they knew it was designed to control them. If you know anything about middle school students, you know they don’t like being controlled.
Christ’s invitation involved a complete change of life for the men who stepped away from their boats and followed Him. He knew the work they would be doing could not be part time. They knew, when they followed Him, life as they knew it would be gone. The same is true for me when I choose to follow Jesus. Life, as I know it, has to go before I can live the life He desires.
Jesus didn’t ask His disciples to get with the program or get in the boat. He asked them to come away from the world they knew and trust Him to show them a new way of living. I wonder how those fishermen would have reacted if Jesus had brought an old fishing boat inside the building and asked them to get into it. I believe they would have gotten right in because they knew He knew what He was doing. They were willing to follow Him no matter where He led because what, where, when, and how didn’t matter anymore. They were only concerned with Who.