Today I set my mind to work for God. I took the kids to school (finally after many snow delays and closings), and returned home to my computer. After re-reading and adding scriptures to my next book, I took a look at this weekend’s readings. The Lectionary or this weekend was on Matthew 4:12-23.
Today, I will be concentrating on Matthew 4:18-22
18 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. 19 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” 20 And they left their nets at once and followed him.
21 A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too. 22 They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind.
This entire morning I had been writing in my next book how important it is to discern our calling from God. Ask yourself questions, pray for God’s help, and understand your own faith before jumping in and saying yes. These were all the essentials for ensuring you are discerning God’s call correctly. I spent several hours this morning penning all this in my book. I even contacted my co-author and chatted with her about these great qualities (we often talk before we write because it gets us on the same page and motivates us).
So to read these verses above, well, it made me scratch my head. I picture Jesus strolling along the sea of Galilee, and just waving his hand at Peter and Andrew to come with him. They see Jesus and just drop what they are doing and go with him. Just when I am about to say, “What are you thinking?” Jesus yells out to James and John who are diligently repairing their net in order to make a little money when they see Jesus. They hop off their boat and follow Jesus too.
What is going on here??? God, I thought I had talked with you about all this. Why are you making discernment look so easy? Most of us struggle daily with committing ourselves to you because we have to sift through all the stuff that society throws at us to find You.
That’s when a memory flashed through my head. The cornerstone of my new book is all about downsizing your life in order to find God more intimately. The entire premise of this came from my own experience with a young man who gave his testimony at a conference I went to with my 15 year old daughter. I have spoke of it before. This man told us how he sold everything after going on a mission trip with his wife. They were so overwhelmed by the call to serve God that they came home and sold all their belongings and their house and he went on the road to speak God’s message. It was powerful.
I came home and explained to Pete that we needed to sell our house and downsize our life. We needed to get back to doing God’s work. He chuckled and blew me off. I can’t blame him. God kept inching the thought in my mind though, and unbeknownst to me He was doing the same to Pete. One year after hearing that man speak our life changed drastically as we sold our house and moved into a much smaller home. We have never looked back. We followed God without a thought of how it might change our life. And trust me – it changed it drastically. If I would have taken the time to think and really look at all the angles of this change, I seriously doubt I would have done it. There wasn’t even a moment to think because once Pete jumped on board (which he did), we immediately started changing our life.
Peter, Andrew, James and John knew Jesus. They had met Him before. They had heard him speak to the masses. They heard all the rumors of this man that had come into their town. They were very aware of Jesus and His message. My guess is Jesus had stirred something deep in their hearts. Just like me with Pete, unbeknownst to them, they all had been contemplating a change in their life. Jesus was making silent changes to people.
The point of these scriptures is to show us that we cannot overthink God’s message. Sometimes it is very clear what we need to change. Sometimes God wants us to make radical changes without thinking about what chaos it might cause. He doesn’t want us coming up with excuses and ways out. His message is sometimes so powerful that we just cannot help but be attracted to carry out His mission. We want to trust Him. He wants us to show our faith.
God’s plan was like that for Pete and I. It might have taken a year for us to move into the house, but in all actuality the timeframe was March to July. In March I heard the speaker, and in July we found the house. Pretty quick turn around after Pete was chuckling and blowing me off in March, huh?
So is God asking me to scrap my book – no way. He is adding to it. We have to remember that discerning God’s Will is so important and sometimes it takes time, but sometimes God’s call is immediate. That is for our benefit, because when we make drastic changes for God, He doesn’t want us overthinking it. He wants us to dive in. Take a leap of faith. Trust in His divine plan.