I am slowly continuing to read Mark on my own. Actually, I'm going so slowly that I'm still in chapter one! Some days I just read the entire chapter and marvel at how busy Jesus was in just that first chapter! Some days I stop and really study part of it, reading commentaries and other writer's thoughts. Having read over and over the beginning, Jesus's baptism and temptation, and His proclaimation that the kindom of God is near, today I'm really studying the calling of His former fishermen disciples.
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. When He had gone a little farther He saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
Can I first just say that one day I want to walk beside the Sea of Galilee? I realize these guys were at work and it was hard, but seriously! This is gorgeous! Forget the fact that they were leaving their very livelihood, who would want to fish for people who talk back when you could call this your office every day? Simply beautiful!
They left their assumed futures! I'm newly struck by that! They had probably always assumed that they would either work as an actual fisherman or run the family fishing business, but they left it when Jesus invited them to follow Him. I've recently been reminded of my age and the fact that I'm still home with a preschooler while staring down the barrel of paying for college in 4 years! My assumed future included working full time again in a fulfilling career that I loved by now, but here I am following Him down a risky path full of humanly frightening possibilities. I think I can identify somewhat with these guys! And yet, something about Jesus was so compelling that they did indeed leave their assumed futures behind to follow Him on the adventure of all time! What if they hadn't followed? Undoubtedly Jesus would still have fulfilled His mission, but would they have missed it? Instead of seeing His miracles and experiencing His power at work, they'd have been working steady jobs looking at this gorgeous water. They might have heard Him speak or even eventually come to believe, but would they have really known Him so intimately? They would not have been to the wedding where He turned water into some really amazing wine. They would not have seen Him cater a meal for over 5000 with just a few fish...they might have simply caught the fish and never seen the miracle! They wouldn't have seen Him walk to them on the water during a storm, but they would have likely heard the story from someone else only to doubt! They might have had every material thing and the comfort of stability, but then again they probably would have still experienced hard times and financial scares without knowing their Redeemer personally. They would have caught fish, but that's all they would have caught...and dead fish really can't fulfill a person's need to experience soul fulfillment. Oh what they would have missed!
That's it! Today I want to be excited about what our entire family might experience because we've chosen to follow Him in ways that are different from what society says is our assumed future. I've been excited for 21 years about ministry, but I must admit that I assumed Blake would get to do ministry while I made the money that allowed him to do ministry. Honestly, it's not like I have much of a choice right now anyway...Sarah's just three! However, I do have the choice to follow Him excitedly anticipating how I'll experience Him in ways that I would miss if I were doing what I always thought I'd be doing! Afterall, His ways are not my ways anyway! Just in case you thought pastor's wives were completely fulfilled in every way, never worrying about the future, thrilled to sacrifice...here I am being real with you. I'm just like most other stay at home moms who love the impact we can have on the children God's given us, but missing the opportunity to have a fulfilling career. Please know that I know I'm making a kingdom impact at home...I'm just being honest here!
I'm also struck by the simplicity of what Jesus required of them. Come to me. Follow me. Just follow, don't make the plan yourself. OOH, I hate that part, but the irony of what I'm trying to teach my own children is not lost on me here. I'm trying to teach them that they must obey me because I know better than they do what is appropriate and best for them. I'm trying to teach them that they can trust and obey me because I love them. Hmm...isn't that why these disciples could just follow Jesus?
And there it is again...how God is taking my daily existence at home with kids and using it to teach me (wasn't I supposed to be home so THE KIDS were learning and growing!!) how to respond to Him! This week in homeschool preschool I'm teaching Sarah that obedience means doing what you are told, right away, with a happy heart, without being reminded! Well, I'm being reminded that obedience is the same for me. Doing what I'm told (stay home for now), right away (this moment, really being at home with my whole body, mind, and will), with a happy heart (most days I'm happy, but most isn't enough), without being reminded (oh but thanks for the constant reminders, God).