There they were, minding their own business, mending nets with their dad. They had been a fisherman for as long as they could remember. They had learned their trade and was doing pretty well for fisherman during their day. They had a good life. It was simple, they knew what to expect for the most part. Every day was routine. They would wake up, throw the nets into the boats, spend the day fishing, come home with the fish to eat or sell, then mend their nets for the next day. Then it happened, well He happened.
Jesus came walking by, looks James and John their eyes and said, “Come follow me.” James looked at Jesus with a furrowed brow, pulled out his phone to check is 401K to see how it was doing, looked back at his dad and considered his predictable life, looked at Jesus and said, can you give me 10 more years and then I will come follow you. My life will be in order, I will have a safety net, and then I can be ready to follow you wherever you go.
Then Jesus looking with love in His eyes said nothing, turned and walked away.
Could you imagine if this was the story that was told to us? Of course, this isn’t how this story goes, but it seems as though this story is true of many of us. There are some of us that God has called us to do something a little crazy. Move to another country, change jobs, not take that promotion, go on a short-term service trip, start a new company, ministry or church. Our response to God, after considering our life, was “I will be ready in another 5-10 years. Can you wait for me?”
We know we should follow Jesus. We know we should be doing something bigger with our lives, but, we aren’t ready yet. We still need to make some more money, grow our retirement, get more education, or wait until…
Yet when Jesus calls us to step out, God says we are ready. I am reminded of a phrase I heard years ago, “God does call the qualified He qualifies the called.”
Consider, what would have happened to James if he told Jesus, “just wait, I need to do a few things first, make a little more money so can you give me a few years?” What would have James missed out on had he said, “Wait until…”
He would have missed out living with Jesus, learning new truths about himself, God, and this world. He would have missed witnessing the miraculous. He would have missed out on discovering more of who he (James) was as a person because he was discovering more of who Jesus was. He would have missed out on his calling in life. He would have missed out in joining God in redeeming this world James would have missed out in living into something bigger than himself.
I know that God does not call everyone to move to another city or country. He may not be calling you to change jobs or turn down a promotion. But one thing is certain, He is calling all of us to live out His mission where we live every day with our family, friends, co-workers, bosses, and neighbors.
What are you waiting for? What is keeping you from stepping into God’s call for your life? What do you really need to do before “leaving your nets and following Him” into the life he created you to live?
A few years ago, Mindy and I were considering starting something new. We believed that God was calling us out from a “secure” job at a church to start Be2Live. We had no money, little business experience, but an urge, a nudge, a calling. We felt as though Jesus was calling us to “drop our nets” and follow Him. As we were processing if we should do this, one thought came to my mind.
“If this is God and we don’t do this, I don’t want to look back 10 years from now wondering, ‘What if? What would have happened had we stepped out and started Be2Live? What would we have done, what would we have learned?’ I don’t want to live with the ‘what if?’ question in our lives.’”
Essentially we decided that the
- possibility of failure was more important than the security of the status quo.
- the possibility that this was God was more important than the security of maintaining “control.”
So, if you feel as though God is calling you out, don’t wait until… We are not guaranteed tomorrow or even next week. Take James’ example and drop your nets and follow Jesus into the great unknown of his goodness, grace, mercy, love, and provision. I believe that if we are seeking God with our heart and if we make the wrong decision, God will catch us in His covenant mercy and move us to where we are supposed to be.
What are you waiting for?