|As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of people." 20 At once they left their nets and followed him. (Matthew4:18-19)|
But there is a basic disconnect that happens for many people when they read this verse because, unlike Simon-Peter and Andrew, most of us don't leave our nets. We don't leave our jobs and go into full-time ministry living by faith like Jesus and the disciples did for three years.
But actually.... even those who go into "full-time ministry" in a church structure or missionary organisation have a position, income and security. It may be a "spiritualised" net, but it is a net...
And so, for most of us, there's a disconnect when we read this verse... We read it and say: "Ah that's for the full-time-live-by-faith folks... And we file it away as one of those beautiful verses that are quoted by missionaries and such like as their "calling".
But I can't help but wonder if we are missing the point...
The point is not that Jesus is calling us away from the nets, but calling us to follow Him. I think this verse is about priority and not about vocation. (We'll look at Jesus and the young man who wanted to bury his father next week)
I think that Jesus calls us to prioritise Him over our nets and then He leads many of us back to our nets, but now we're not just catching fish, we're reaching souls.
This verse does not apply only to those who have left their nets (i.e. gone into some kind of "full-time" ministry) This verse is about following Jesus and placing Him first. I believe He will lead many of us back to nets with new hearts.
For way too long we have highlighted church work as "sacred" and denigrated "secular work". The longer I work in the church, the more I realise that the real life changing happens where the people are. If we're going to be fishers of people, we will find them at work, in the neighbourhood, across the street and in our social circles.
This beautiful passage is for EVERY Christian - including you. He's calling you to FOLLOW HIM. He may lead you away from your net and something new, or He may just give you a new heart and lead you back to the net because that's where the people are....