The Call to Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark, Day 5
16 As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. 17And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fish for people.’ 18And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him. Mark 1:16-20Immediately, without thought they just got going. Right away, Immediately, Mark infuses the Gospel with this sense of urgency and passion. As Jesus comes near and the kingdom comes near, people will respond with enthusiasm and passion. So as Jesus walks along the sea he sees a set of brothers fishing and invited them to follow and fish for people. This is not the peaceful fishing of you and your pole by the water. This is fishing by nets being dragged where everything in its path is pulled in - the good desirable fish, the undesirable, inedible fish, sea weed. Everything is pulled in. Jesus with Andrew and Peter is making this claim that those in the line of the net will be pulled in. The net Jesus is casting will bring in the desirable and the undesirable, church folk and sinners, healthy and unhealthy, lost and found, young and old, multicultural, gay and straight, everyone will be drawn in.
Jesus illustrated this by continuing his walk where he saw James and John and invited them to join the journey. The net snagged them and they too set off with Jesus. They leave behind family. They follow without conditions at least for now. Both of these brother's show us the hope and possibility present in being invited to follow. We are given the chance to jump into a different life, a life with God present.
I would love to be able to say I jumped right up and followed Jesus, but I took a circuitous route into the ministry. When I was a teenager, while I felt the pull of God on my life, being a preacher's kid I said no. I didn't want to give me life to people who were often mean to my father and had taken him away from us during important family events. I didn't want a life of struggling and scraping to get by and so I said no. When I hit bottom, unemployed, getting divorced, and a single mom, I was able to hear the call. I was in church listening to the sermons, of my grandmother's pastor. I kept hearing the call. Each Sunday there was the pastor preaching about accepting a call. It was like he was talking only to me, week after week for more than month. Jesus encountered Peter and Andrew, James and John, Philip and Nathanael. And I finally said yes. I think I should be a pastor. My immediately took a long time. But God is willing for you to be caught no matter how long it takes. God is casting the net and dragging in the willing and the unwilling, the enthusiastic and the reluctant. God calls and people still follow. Some immediately and some in the fullness of time. God calls and we follow.
I invite you to spend time today using the words, "Follow me," as your call to mindfulness and breath prayer. With the words 'follow me,' spend the day keeping them in your heart and mind. You could do this every time you hear a cell phone go off, you say, 'follow me.' If you have time today with your intention to follow Jesus and let him lead you to the people and places you need to encounter. Listen to the push to go a certain direction or visit a place and see who Jesus places in your path to encounter.