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Call to Follow

Mark 1:16-18
As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 'Come, follow me,' Jesus said, 'and I will send you out to fish for people.' At once they left their nets and followed him. (NIVUK)

Most non-Christians think (if they think about it at all) that if God were to call anyone, He would obviously call a holy person doing holy things.  Not so!  It was just another ordinary day for the fishermen. There was nothing particularly holy about these men.  They were not in the temple or theologically eloquent. The Master simply walked by their workplace and commanded that they must change their job and become His apprentices.  And they did.

Although it seems strange, Christ did not take His chosen band from the religious set in the synagogue but from the ordinary in the workplace.  His selection was not random; He knew exactly who He was going to choose (John 1:48) and how they would glorify Him (John 13:21-31; John 21:19).  As an encouraging pattern for the church, not many of the future apostles were wise in the world’s eyes (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).  But the Lord knew what He was doing.  He was calling people who would learn to trust Him and give everything for Him as they led that early church (Acts 4:18-20).

'Fishing for people' was a new expression to those fishermen.  Jesus took their work-skill and used it as an analogy for the work of Gospel proclamation and evangelism.  The fish are people who are not in God's kingdom.  The sea is the chaotic world under the devil’s sponsorship.  Jesus' mission was to bring them out of the sea of darkness and into His kingdom (Colossians 1:13), with the help of His trusted 'fishermen'.  The work of evangelism and church planting is as hard as fishing, which is still one of the most unpleasant and dangerous occupations in the world (2 Corinthians 11:23-28).  Many Christians prefer to teach in churches than go out with the gospel.  But 'going out' is what Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:18-20).

Have you ever thought that there are many more 'fish' at work rather than in church?  Likewise, there are many more fishers of men in the workplace than preachers in churches.  In comparison, the church is small, but the workplace is huge - and contains many who do not yet know that Jesus has His eye on them.  But He has!  That alone is a good enough reason to look at colleagues with wiser eyes; knowing that the call of God might well come to them, and sooner than they might think.  We ought to expect God to speak to people in the office or school, factory or farm, bank or hospital through people like you.  Christians are not only called to earn their own living - to give to those in need and to support others in ministry - they are already strategically placed as fishers for Jesus among fish swimming in the dark.  Many will never go to church so how will they hear the gospel unless they hear it from you?  1 Peter 3:15 says to every follower of Jesus, "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect …"   That is a serious challenge to fishers of men.

Holy Father. Thank You for choosing me to be in Your kingdom. Forgive me for ignoring the spiritual blindness of my friends who need to hear the gospel message. Thank You for Your plans to include me in bringing others into Your kingdom. Today, I pray for my colleague / friend … . In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams