Mark 1:18 At once they left their nets and followed him.
When I was a pastor in Scotland, I loved working with the local fishermen. They were a hardy breed of manly men. They were coarse and rustic, weather beaten and strong. Each week they put their lives at risk looking for a bounty of fish. They worked long hours and in conditions that were sometimes terrifying. Whenever there was a storm at sea in the middle of the week, I used to pray constantly for their safety. On Friday afternoons, I gave thanks to God when I watched the fleet of fishing trawlers return home.
The faith of these fishermen was amazing to experience. Because they put their lives on the line week after week, they had a stronger connection to God than most everyday folk. I guess when you face death each day, then you find God a lot more closer to you. Whenever the church needed help or support, the fisherman families were amongst the first to volunteer. They were the heart and soul of the parish church and, throughout the years that I spent with them, I came to admire and respect their fearless faith and total commitment to God.
I think I can understand why Peter and Andrew, James and John left their nets to go and follow Jesus immediately. Fishermen are ‘all or nothing’ kind of people. Being timid or half-hearted just isn’t a part of their personality. It takes a great deal of courage to be a fisherman and they boldly go where angels fear to tread water. I think Jesus knew this when He asked the Galilean fishermen to follow Him. If they joined His team, then they would give their hearts and minds, souls and strength to His ministry and mission. There would be no half-measures and there would be no holding them back.
We are all called to become disciples of Christ, but sometimes we let other things get in the way. Instead of leaving our nets behind and walking on with Jesus, we keep a hold of them and drag them with us. Christ needs us to let go of the past, so that we can let Him lead us on to a more faithful future. If we truly want to serve Him, then it’s all or nothing.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You called fishermen to Your ministry because You knew that through their commitment You would be able to build the Church. Thank You for choosing them and for selecting us. Help us to give You our all, so that You may become everything to us. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.