Jesus is something else. He had this way of doing things that was not at the whim or desire of anybody around him. Sometimes Jesus spoke in parables when people expected him to be clear. Sometimes Jesus did not say anything when others wanted him to speak. And sometimes he just did not beat around bush at all and bluntly spoke. Calling the disciples was one of those times.
What would make you drop everything and pursue an entirely new life? What would it take for you to follow Jesus as if your life depended on it? What would cause you to not make any excuses and simply follow Jesus? I am impressed with the fact that the original disciples immediately obeyed Jesus when he plainly commanded them to “Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (Mark 1:16-20). They did not question Jesus as to whether this was a short term project or a long term assignment he was calling them to. They did not ask Jesus how following him would look to other people, or how it would impact their fishermen’s stock portfolio. They simply dropped everything and followed Jesus. If those disciples followed Jesus with the same reason I originally decided to follow him, it was because Jesus is such a compelling person, so gracious, interesting, and loving that it is really no decision at all. Everything else pales in comparison with Jesus.
Take the time to read all the Gospels and the book of Acts and you will find this: Followers of Jesus follow Jesus; and, those who are not following Jesus are not his followers. It is that simple. Followers follow, and those who do not follow are not Christ’s followers. What you will not find when reading the Gospels and the book of Acts is that following Jesus is optional or that somehow a person can be a Christian without following Jesus.
Jesus commands us to follow him and he will make us fishers of humanity. “But,” you might retort, “I do not know how to fish for people.” Here is a simple observation: Jesus said that he would make us fishers of people. In other words, Jesus is not walking around looking for people with skills that he can use. Rather, Jesus calls people and makes them into fishermen; he develops people and forms them with the ability to follow his call. If that is true (and it is), then this has significant implications on multiple levels for church ministry. At the very least it means that our pre-occupation with leadership and developing leaders needs to take a back seat to simple following of Jesus. If that seems weird or counter-intuitive, then welcome to God’s upside-down kingdom.
Jesus will train us; our responsibility is to answer the call to follow. When I was five years old my Dad took the training wheels off my bike and told me to ride it. I told him I couldn’t. He told me to get on the bike and he would run beside me. I got on the bike and started to ride with him holding it. When I began to panic approaching a tree, I started talking to my Dad. He didn’t answer… because he wasn’t beside me. He dropped out from shagging me a long way back.
We are not called to follow Jesus based on our superior skills, but on the lack of them so that Jesus will do in us a work of total allegiance and loyalty to the kingdom of God. Jesus will make sure to develop the prowess we need in order to do what he has called us to do. We must hear and answer the call of Jesus to follow and to make us fishers of people. Church ministry goes nowhere without this basic biblical building block. Focus on following, and see what Jesus can do.