The commands of Jesus have a way of reverberating through the centuries, even those that he gave to some fishermen as he was walking along the seashore.
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”
Given other things that Jesus told his disciples to do, including making other disciples, I tend to believe that, while he was just speaking to a few fishermen at the time, he certainly didn’t mean that this command was restricted to them. Instead, I think that this was command that was intended for every one of us.
One of the great things about this command is that it is functionally not very difficult. In fact, pretty straight forward: Follow. OK.
But it isn’t easy. It assumes that you either don’t have anything else happening and all of the time in the world on your hands, or that you are willing to prioritize someone else’s agenda ahead of your own. And there is the rub. Most people really do have other ideas, other plans, other things that they have imagined for their lives.
But now we have this guy who seems to think that he has a better idea about how I should be spending my time – spending my life – better than I do. Now the bar is quite a bit higher. Now we’re not kidding around, this is serious, and I had better be pretty darned sure that this is what I want to do.
This is a decision that we are all faced with. What does it mean for each of us to follow this command? Only you can decide as you have that conversation with Jesus. He isn’t here physically, but I believe that he intends to lead each of us just like he was going to lead these fishermen and others that he would call to follow him, and like them, we each have to decide how we will respond. In this situation, we see these fishermen put down their nets, walk away, and start to follow Jesus. That is an amazing response! I wonder if they are the exception or the rule. Did Jesus call a bunch more who didn’t immediately follow? We don’t know, but I would have to imagine that is the case.
If you’re being analytical about this choice, the ultimate question becomes, “Is it worth it?”, and I suppose the answer depends on what you’re after. Jesus promises life, and to give it to us to the full. Do you have that already?
He also promised the fishermen to teach them to fish for people. Following Jesus has something to do with other people, with catching them as Jesus would, given that he is the one doing the teaching!
So this is what Jesus is offering as our leader. This and so much more that I won’t mention here. But it means that we have to set aside our plans and follow. Not only once, but ongoing. This certainly isn’t easy, but to the extent that I understand and have experience in obeying this command and following Jesus, I can tell you that I think it is worth it!