Thursday, October 7, 2010

Ready to Do Some Fishing?

Mark 1:14-20 NLT 
  14 Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where he preached God’s Good News. 15 “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!”
  16  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. 17 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!”18 And they left their nets at once and followed him. 
  19 A little farther up the shore Jesus saw Zebedee’s sons, James and John, in a boat repairing their nets. 20 He called them at once, and they also followed him, leaving their father, Zebedee, in the boat with the hired men.

This part of the Gospel story always amazes me. Here were these guys working at their day-jobs and Jesus calls them to follow.  He didn't just invite them to his church on Sunday, or to a one night a week Bible study. He didn't just ask them to simply listen to him preach and reflect. Jesus invited them to stop what they were doing for their full time livelihood and follow Him around, learning to minister in the new way-- through the love of Christ. He invited them to leave the kingdom of this world and step into the Kingdom of God-- which He explained was 'near.' Later on we see him explain to one of the more friendly of the Pharisees that he was "not far form the Kingdom." But these guys are 'near to it and by responding to Christ's invitation they could be stepping directly into it.

To the fisher-persons Jesus invites them to come and learn how to fish for people, catching them for the Kingdom of God. Later in the story, He invites the intellectual Nathanael to come and discover God's greater truths. The hated tax collector was invited to find a place of belonging and 'be my disciple.' You and I are called to follow Christ as well. Notice how these who became apostles responded. They left it all to follow. They had their struggles but they followed. They didn't all become 'apostles' that first day or event the first year. They were trained and chosen according to God's plan. Christ did not reveal to them what their whole life plan was to be in ministry but taught them for three years to learn to live in a day-by-day trusting faith and obedience with what they knew for the moment.

Have you realized that you, too, are called by Christ to follow without reservation? He may not have asked you to leave a job. To the contrary you may want to leave it but He asks you to stay there and be His 'salt' and 'light' in that place. He may not ask you to go to some exotic far off place, but rather to remain where he has planted you to be His witness. The whole world is now a mission field. Down town or suburban Los Angeles is no less dark and lost than the jungles of South America or the plains of Arabia. Darkness fills the earth and we are called to catch persons for God wherever we are.

Ready to do some fishing?

Your servant in Christ's love

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