When you read about Jesus calling His disciples, it’s easy to overlook some important details because of the familiarity of the stories. Remember, the Bible is for savoring, not for speed-reading. Peter and Andrew were brothers and fishermen. Fishing was their life. It’s how they put food on the table and how they spent their days. James and John were also fishermen, in business with their father. Fishing wasn’t just a job for them. It was the family business.
And yet, when Jesus passed by and called these men to follow Him, Matthew is explicit in recording that each of them immediately left their nets, boats, and family behind. They did not hesitate, and they did not look back. Jesus called, and they obeyed. Would you leave your nets to follow Jesus?
Perhaps the first thing we need to do is identify the nets in our lives. What are those things that provide income for us? What is it we spend all our time doing? Are there things so entwined with who we are that we might hesitate to leave them behind? Walking away from everything you’ve known is not an easy thing to do. Leaving family, security, and lifestyle behind typically should involve a lot of thinking and a lot of planning. But the original disciples did none of that. Jesus called, and they obeyed.
How do we measure up? Have we left everything behind for the sake of following Jesus? Do we see a life spent following Him as far better than one spent pursuing our dreams? There are many preachers out there trying to blend Christianity with more of a self-help message. They are more concerned with helping you live your best life now than they are about helping you secure your eternity. Following Jesus has nothing to do with fulfilling your dreams and ambitions. When you leave your nets, you don’t know where you’ll go next. You only know you’re going with Jesus.
Peter, Andrew, James, and John didn’t wait until they were financially stable. They didn’t wrap up their affairs and say goodbye to their families. They heard the call, got up, and walked away from the life they had known. What awaited them was the great unknown. All they knew was they had to be with Jesus. Anywhere with Him was better than anything else they might desire.
Are you willing to leave your nets? Will you do it immediately? If Jesus is everything to you, if He is your Lord, there can be no hesitation. You will either love Jesus, or you will love the things of this world. You can’t have it both ways (I John 2:15). I’m not going to tell you that Jesus may lead you to serve Him and still achieve the dreams you’ve always had. He probably won’t. He could, but that thought shouldn’t enter our minds. When you love Jesus, you don’t care about anything else. Following Jesus will probably mean your life is going to be more difficult, not easier. It will probably be more dangerous.
A life of discipleship is not easy, but it is glorious. It is life as God meant it to be. Many will be called, but few will be chosen (Matthew 22:14). Most will not find Jesus worth the sacrifice. For those who cling to their nets, it will be the most tragic and disastrous decision of their lives. Don’t make that mistake. Leave your nets. Hear the call of Jesus and obey. Do it now.