No More Nets

No More Nets

“And he [Jesus] said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him.” – Matthew 4:19-20

      Imagine just how different our world would be if the disciple’s response to Jesus’ call to follow looked more like this: Immediately they went back to tending their nets and catching their fish, ready and willing to hang out with Jesus for an hour on Sunday morning before brunch.” Honestly, if that were the extent of the disciples’ reaction to Jesus’ call, we would never have known it… because they wouldn’t have witnessed his ministry, nor written it down, nor proclaimed the good news to the people who shared it with the people who eventually shared it with us.

Far too often we get caught up in going to church instead of being the Church. While we admire the people who make great sacrifices and dramatic changes for their faith – surely, God doesn’t expect that of us, right? Nope. This is one time when lukewarm isn’t good enough; our faith is meant to be so much more than something we think about once a week.

Even as a pastor just returning from Annual Conference – at times filled with reports and membership numbers – I’m reminded that Christ calls us to more than that. He never once says, “Go into all the world and make church members.” He calls us to make disciples, to be disciples, following in the footsteps of Jesus. That doesn’t mean wearing a robe and sandals and walking around Palestine as an itinerant preacher. It doesn’t even mean selling all that you have and living an ascetic life. But it does mean living your life, first and foremost, as one who seeks to live like Jesus did, full of care and concern for others. Full of compassion for the suffering. Full of grace and truth. It also means understanding that our first priority in our lives is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. That priority should be in our hearts and minds wherever we are be it at work, on the golf course, in the classroom, or at your favorite coffee shop.

I am convinced more and more each day that the reason the church in America has been in such decline over the last several decades is because we have lost that priority. We settled for making church members and forgotten how to make disciples. But Jesus is still calling us, friends, and it is not to late to drop our nets and follow him! Engage with your faith. Engage with the words and the way of Jesus. Share what you believe with those around you, both within the church walls and out there in the world. May we follow with courage and humility, wherever he leads us.

Leaving my nets behind,

Pastor Mike

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