Focus Scripture: Matthew 4:18-22
When I was a little girl, on occasion, my big brother would take me fishing with him. There was poison ivy in the area and so he would say to me, "follow exactly in my footsteps. I know where it is safe to walk." And I would try my best to walk exactly where he walked, placing my feet in his very footsteps, matching my stride to his as perfectly as I could. In that manner, we would make our way from the road or main path down through the brush and undergrowth to the side of the Yellow Breeches Creek to fish. The entire process would be reversed to get home. The threat of poison ivy, and the hope that I would be able to avoid the misery I had seen him suffer in the past--that was more than enough incentive for me to follow him.
What incentive did Jesus give his followers? "Come and follow me and I will make you fishers of men." What did that, or for that matter, does that, even mean? Would we give up our jobs, leave our families, and become vagrants just to follow someone who, with no prior experience, said he would make us "fishers of men?" This is one of those places where I find myself wondering if the real wonder of events, if the real incentive, did not translate onto the page. Surely it was Jesus' presence that was the attraction. These men, already fishers by trade, must have seen the divine in Jesus so that the simple words on invitation said so much more to them then the words alone. Yet it is only the words, and the response to them, that we have left as a record. And, of course, Jesus' call to our own hearts to follow him, because he is still making "fishers," of all who follow.
Had my brother only been as successful. Unfortunately, despite all of my brother's precautions and careful survey of the brush, the telltale rash would appear--just not on me! Oh, how that irritated my brother! (He was clearly highly allergic and, as it turns out, I am not.)
When have you been called to follow?