When I noticed that I was stagnant in writing my thesis, I started rereading my most favorite Christian book Believe You Can by Jentezen Franklin. This is my third time to read the book, and I still get fresh insights from it. Those statements with highlights and underlines remain powerful as it was when I first read it.
Upon reading the book, I was driven to open my Bible again. I still read the Bible occasionally, but suddenly, I felt the urgency of reading it again more frequently. I have been reading a lot of different kinds of books, and I found it ironic that I don’t open my Bible as much as I open other books.
Like what I have done many times before, I started with the book of Matthew. Since Chapter 1, the Lord has revealed to me many things already, but let me share my thoughts as I read Chapter 4 when Jesus called His first disciples, and it reads:
Jesus Calls His First Disciples
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
I had my experience in following Jesus many years ago like anyone else. Like the other disciples, I did as I was asked. But the Lord impressed something different in me this time. Does following Jesus that hard or complicated only the first time or does it press more difficulty and complication after?
If following Jesus seems so hard to many people already at the beginning, then does following Him again and again mean more challenging, too? I think it is.
Why does Jesus call us? Maybe, we are far away. Busy schedules. Long lists of things to do. Different priorities. Maybe, we are near him, but we have a different perspective on serving Him. Perhaps, Jesus needs to call us again, so that we can focus on Him once more. If we are already walking with Him, then why does He call us? Probably, He wants us to do something for Him. A bolder act. An urgent decision. A radical move. He needs to call us, and definitely, the most important is our response. The bottom line: He will never stop calling us.
The way we responded to Him the first time like the way the disciples did must be our response every time the Lord calls us. “At once, Peter and Andrew left their nets and followed him.” When we accepted Him as our Lord and Savior, we must leave our nets or anything that keeps us busy. In an instant, we followed Him before, and we could still do it over and over again. No questions asked. No ifs. No buts. We can leave anything for Him because the One who calls us is Jesus Himself.
“Jesus called them [James and John], and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him.” Perhaps, what we have to leave is not that simple. The disciples had to leave their boat and father, that mean life to them. The first gives them a living while the second gives them life. Maybe, it’s something or someone very important to us, but following Jesus at times calls us to sacrifice. Yes, it’s hard, but we know that He has a reason for everything. We know what happened to the disciples after. We know already what happened when we followed Jesus before.
If the disciples and we did not respond to Jesus when he called us, what could have happened in our life? Surely, it’s far different from what we are enjoying right now. If we remember the day He first called us, we will always see a romantic scene. It’s full of love.
We will minister to other people and share this popular calling of the disciples, but before we share it to the next person we know, let us remember that the message of Jesus’s calling remains relevant to us the ones He first called.
Why is Jesus calling you again?