And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
Following is Forsaking
When Jesus told the disciples to follow Him, notice that He didn’t ask for their input or ask them to take some time and think about it. He gave it as a verbal imperative command. What was their response? Did they discuss it among themselves? Did they have to say, “Wait, can we get back with you on that Jesus?” No, they simply left their nets and followed Him. They didn’t seem to even think twice about it. There is no indication in the scriptures that they ever hesitated. They simply went. James and John were next. They, too, simply left their nets and went (Matt 4:21-22). It said that they “immediately left their nets.” I wonder how hard that must have been–to leave their family, their job security, the only thing they likely had ever done and something they were probably pretty good at, too. That sounds easy, but was it really?
Abraham Left Everything
When God called Abraham (at the time still called Abram) to leave his country, his family, and his father’s house to go to a place that he had never seen, not to mention never been to, he simply went (Gen 12:1-2, 4). There is no indication that Abraham dwelled on this calling by God. He had to leave everything familiar behind–his family, his job, his father, and all that he knew–to go to a place he knew nothing about. That is what it means to follow Christ: to leave all we know for the unknown. I am not suggesting that God wants you to quit your job or leave your family. It would look different for us today to follow Christ. Some missionaries do just that, but we aren’t all called to go to a foreign land. Christ is calling all believers to follow Him into the fields of the harvest of souls. Will we follow Him?
Leaving and Forsaking
I still struggle with this today, leaving my own comfort zone and going into the world to try and bring the gospel to the lost, with the knowledge that most people will not accept this message. That’s what God told Jeremiah. He told him to go and tell the people about their sin and to repent, but God plainly tells Jeremiah that the people will not listen to him(Jer 7:27-28). Can you imagine how hard that must have been for Jeremiah to have God tell Him to go and warn His people and that, by the way, they won’t listen to you, Jeremiah. Jeremiah still did what God commanded him, even knowing that his message would be rejected. Do I know what it means to follow Christ? I am not so sure I completely do.
A Closing Prayer
Great God in heaven, Creator of heaven and earth, please help me to know what it means to follow You and to understand exactly what that means. I may have to forsake my own pleasures, my own free time, and my own way of thinking to go where You would have me go. I need your help, Lord, and pray for these things in Jesus’ name.
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