“Then He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men’” (Matthew 4:19, New King James Version).
Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to live at the same time as Jesus? I have. Sometimes as I read the Bible, I try to imagine myself in that setting. Would I have been a believer or a skeptic? I hope I would have chosen to believe in Him.
This morning I read the passage of Jesus calling His first disciples. Simon Peter and Andrew, fishermen brothers, were casting their nets into the sea when Jesus told them, “Follow me.” They immediately left their nets behind and went with Him. A little farther along the way, Jesus found another pair of brothers, James and John, mending their nets. He called out to them as well, and they immediately left their father and hired servants behind to follow Him. Had any of the four met Him before or heard Him speak? What did they see or feel that compelled them to drop everything and go?
And then I asked myself: Would I be willing to do the same? Could I drop everything on the spur of the moment and go with Jesus?
Not all the Lord called were willing to leave everything behind to follow Him. In Matthew 19:16-23 we read the story of a young man who desired eternal life. When questioned by the Lord, he assured Him he had kept the commandments from his youth up. Was there anything else he lacked, he asked. Then Jesus spoke these words:
“Jesus said to him, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me’” (verse 21).
The young man turned away sorrowfully. Although he had asked what he lacked, he wasn’t ready for the answer. He owned many possessions and was unwilling to give it away to follow an uncertain life with Jesus. He would not take the risk. Treasure here felt more important than treasure in heaven.
To become a disciple of Jesus requires a deliberate choice. The focus of our life changes, and we willingly relinquish control to Someone Else. We see the result of the disciples’ decision, but they left their nets behind without really knowing the full impact of that decision. It impacted not only those of their day but also millions of others down through the ages. Had the rich young man determined to sacrifice everything and follow Jesus, perhaps we would now know his name along with Peter and the other disciples.
It’s not just the original twelve disciples who faced a decision. We experience the same choice today. When Jesus invites us to “Follow Me,” it isn’t to join Him on the dusty roads of Israel. It’s to walk our modern road together and face its challenges. Are we willing to step out by faith? Are we willing to relinquish control of our lives to the One who holds the future? Our decision will affect the course of our life as well as affect those whose lives we touch. Choose wisely.
Prayer: Lord, I want to follow You with my whole heart, mind, and soul. Help me to relinquish all control of my life to You and trust You to guide me in all I do. Although I cannot see the future, I feel secure when I am walking life’s path with You. Whatever direction You lead, I know it is for my good.